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ell (Duncan) The Lairds of 
,n, Historical Sketches, relating to 
tricts of Appin, Glenlyon, and Bread- 
Privately Printed, 1886 ; post 4 to, 
-caret, 3, 1OS 

(See P<ige 289 and Appendix.) 


airfos of 









THE following Historical Sketches were first 
published in the form of articles contributed 
to the " Perthshire Advertiser " at various dates 
between August, 1855, and June, 1858. Their 
Author, Mr. Duncan Campbell, now of Inverness, 
was at that time Parish Schoolmaster of Fortingall, 
Glenlyon ; he was thoroughly conversant with the 
topography, antiquities, and legends of the dis- 
tricts of Appin, Glenlyon, and Breadalbane, and 
had access to the family records preserved in Glen- 
lyon House. The Sketches have been collected 
by Sir Donald Currie of Garth and Glenlyon, 
and carefully revised for him by the Author, with a 
view to their reproduction in the present volume. 

May, 1886. 

INVERNESS, July ^th, 1885. 

Glenlyon " which you are republishing for private 
circulation from the old files of the Perthshire Advertiser ; 
were written by me in weekly or fortnightly instalments, 
long, long ago, when I was schoolmaster of Fortingall, 
and as yet quite a young man. I was full of traditional 
stories I had heard in my boyhood from my grandmother, 
from Archibald M'Arthur, miller of St. Eonan's Mill, and 
many other aged persons. I possessed papers left by my 
grandfather, and had access to papers then at Glenlyon 
House, which, at a time when repairs were going on, I had 
the good fortune to save from being burned. Very few of 
the papers went further back than 1670, and the few that 
dated from 1620 did not tell much about Glenlyon. I had 
therefore at first to rely upon tradition alone in respect to 
the earlier history, and I found that while agreeing in the 
main my chief informants, who were John M'Arthur alias 
" Iain Mor Mac Rob," my grand-uncle, Donald M'Naughton 
alias " Domhnull Ciotach," Archibald M'Diarmid alias 
" Gilleasbuig Mor Scoileir," and the Kirkton of Fortingall 
veteran soldier, John Campbell alias " Iain Caimbeul a 
Chlaoidh," differed in details and modes of telling their 
stories. Before the series of papers was concluded, The 
Black Book of Taymouth came out ; and that gave me an 
opportunity of supplementing and correcting traditions. 


The reprint will therefore contain within itself recorded 
history, along with traditions. The proofs of this reprint 
now before me contain all the purely traditional part, and 
what strikes me most is its general faithfulness to recorded 
history, and the elucidatory light it throws thereon. But 
on the other hand traditions always confuse chronology and 
obliterate or expand periods of time without remorse. I 
have much pleasure in sending you for an appendix to the 
reprint a few notes which will, I hope, help to give the book 
a decent historical backbone, and to atone for the defects 
of tradition. 

I remain, 

Yours truly, 



of Garth and Glenlyon, 

Fortingall, Perthshire. 



LENLYON stretches in a westerly direction between 
Appin of Dull and Tyndrum. It lies wholly in 
Perthshire, having Rannoch running parallel on the north 
and Breadalbane on the south. The road to Tyndrum not 
being open, as well as other reasons, have hitherto caused this 
glen to be a little world by itself. The scenery is unique, 
and beautiful throughout. The circular dale of Fortingall, 
abounding in Druidic and Roman remains, forms the vesti- 
bule. The traveller then enters the Pass of Chesthill, and 
for three miles walks along the course of the Lyon, which, 
hoarse-murmuring over its bed of honey-combed rocks, 
and now and then hampered by cliffs jutting from either 
side, gives one, by its twisting stream, crested with milky 
foam, the idea of a half-strangled serpent wriggling along, 
wounded but menacing. Lofty abrupt rocks, cloud-capped 
above, and covered with woods at their base, adorn and 
complete the scene. Emerging from the Pass, our traveller 
now reaches the inhabited places, the beginning of the real 
glen. Its conformation may be generally described as a 
succession of long "bends," the angles of which consist 


of mountain spurs, that so closely approximate at certain 
points as to make the beholder think he has attained his 
goal, and that the little opening before him has no ulterior, 
beyond, at best, a small mountain corrie. His astonish- 
ment increases as he enters another and still another "bend," 
in generals so like, but in particulars so dissimilar from, 
the preceding ones. Thus the scene shifts from beginning 
to end, a distance in all of thirty miles, while the average 
breadth is not much above two. The hills, rising nearly 
perpendicular from the bed of the river, give the whole 
glen its individuality of character; but the surface changes 
continually from bare rocks to verdant green from woods 
and purple heath to the rich pasture of the braes, in sum- 
mer almost white, from the large intermixture of white 
bed-straw (Galium sexatile) and eye-bright. The patches 
of arable ground, formed upon the debris washed down 
by mountain streams, are very fertile, but slow in ripen- 
ing, as in most places the mountain tops intercept the 
kindly sunbeams. In some places, indeed, the sun is not 
seen for upwards of two months. 

The present population does not exceed 600. Within 
the memory of persons living, it was fully double this. 
The population consists of large sheep-farmers, a few cot- 
tars and tradesmen, with a very slight sprinkling of crofters 
or small holders. There are an Established and a Free 
Church and their respective schools, and also a Baptist 
meeting-place. Three proprietors share among them the 
whole glen R. S. Menzies, Esq. of Culdares ; J. S. Men- 
zies, Esq. of Chesthill ; and the Marquis of Breadalbane. 
The last possesses the lands once held by the M'Gregors of 
Roro, and in the braes which formerly made part of the 


royal forest of Bendaskerly, of which an ancestor of that 
noble family, Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenorchy, was ap- 
pointed hereditary forester by James VI. 

The glen abounds in traditions and remains of the Fin- 
galians. A chain of round towers stretches through its 
whole length, which the people still call " Caistealan nam 
Fiann," castles of the Fingalians. There is an old saying, 
" Bha da chaisteal dheug aig Fionn an crom ghlean nan 
garbh chlach " " Fingal had twelve castles in the crooked 
glen of large stones." Most of these ruins are to this day 
pointed out. There are five of them at the place called 
Cashlie (castles), each bearing the name of a known Fin- 
galian chief. There can be little doubt these towers w r ere 
used both for protection and watch-towers, from which the 
approach of danger was telegraphed far and near. It is no 
argument against the latter view, that some of the towers 
were not within sight of others ; the conformation of the 
country rendered it impossible, granting that each dale and 
valley was held by its own tribe of inhabitants, squatting 
round their tower. It was in general only requisite that, 
when the messenger of war arrived, the chief, by displaying 
the beacon light from the top of the tower, could gather his 
own followers without loss of time. In confirmation of this 
view, we find that a tower, which is in sight of no other 
one, still commands the whole glen or section of a glen in 
which it is placed. 

The chain of towers between Dunkeld and the borders 
of Argyleshire must have been of much consequence, in- 
deed, in the pre-historic annals of Scotland. There seems 
little doubt this was the Drumalban of later historians. A 
passage in a poem by the bard Douthal, on Mordubh, king 


of the Caledonians, still extant, speaks of Drumalban and 
the beacon lignt as follows : 

" Tionailibh mo shuin o'n t'-seilg," 

Thubhairt Ceann-feadhna na' h-Alba. 
" Soillsichibh srad air Druim-Feinne, 

Is thig mo laoich o ghruaidh gach beinne." 

Labhair Mordubh righ nan srath, 

J S lionair crag tha 'g-innseadh an sgeul. 

" Cal my heroes from the chase," said the Captain of Scot- 
land. " Light a spark on Druim-Feinne (the high top of the 
Fingalians viz., Drumalban), and my warriors shall come 
from the side of each hill. Mordubh, King of Straths, thus 
spoke, and many a crag tells the tale." Captain of Scotland 
such is the title given to Mordubh as generalissimo in the 
war, while his personal and ordinary rank was King of 
Straths. King, in those days, was a name assumed by any 
chief that had a decent following. The long bead-roll of 
Caledonian kings anterior to Kenneth, was likely, to a con- 
siderable extent, made up of the names of so many inde- 
pendent chiefs, who, one way or another, made themselves 
remarkable in their day, and many of whom must have lived 
contemporaneously, and of whom few, perhaps, merited 
the title of king, in the sense in which the annalists, misled 
by the unity of their own times, so liberally bestowed it, 
so as, indeed, to destroy the authority of their story. 

Glenlyon is a mine of legends, or was so a few years be- 
fore it was "swept." We may give a few in passing ; but our 
principal object is to gather in one record the chief events in 
the traditional history of a family that one unfortunate cir- 
cumstance made too notorious in the history of Scotland 
the Campbells of Glenlyon. Before coming to the Lairds, 


however, it is necessary to pay homage to Holy Mother 
Kirk, and relate the 


St. Eonan (as tradition says) was the disciple of St. 
Columba, but more correctly an alumnus of the Monastery 
of lona, founded by St. Columba about 565. St. Eonan set 
out in company with St. Fillan to instruct the rude inhabi- 
tants of the Grampians in the doctrines of Christianity. The 
whole land lay before them, and like the patriarchs of old, 
casting lots Strathfillan, Balquhidder, &c., fell to St. Fillan ; 
Glenlyon and its neighbourhood to Eonan. Civilization, of 
yore as now, followed in the wake of the religion of the cross. 
Both saints, in their different abodes, recommended their 
spiritual doctrines to the people, by showing they could better 
their temporal state. Fillan erected the mill at Killin ; 
Eonan that of Milton Eonan in Glenlyon. During Eonan's 
sojourn in the place of his pilgrimage, one of the dreadful 
plagues that then so often depopulated Europe, broke out 
over Scotland. At Fortingall it made such ravage that only 
one survived " an Ossian after the Fenians." This was 
an old woman, who performed the duties of sexton, con- 
veying the dead, by her grey horse and sledge, into one 
hollow over which a heap of stones was afterwards raised, 
still to be seen in the Haugh of Fortingall, and called the 
" Cairn of the Dead.'"' What became of the heroine of the 
grey horse, our Sennachies forget to tell ; but they say the 
desert dale of Fortingall was subsequently repeopled by a 
colony of the M'Dougals of Lorn, many of whose descendants 
are still found there. As the plague extended up the glen, 
St. Eonan's people, despairing of all human rescue, bethought 


themselves of the spiritual aid of their pastor, whose good 
help they importuned in the following lines : 

Eonan nan gruaidhean dearg 
Eirich, is caisg plaigh do shluaigh ; 
Saor sinne bho'n Bhas 
Is na leig oirnn e nios no 'n nuas. 

" Eonan of the ruddy cheeks, rise and check the plague of 
thy people. Save us from the death, and let it not come 
upon us east or west." However unreasonable the request, 
the prudent missionary found it expedient to temporise. 
He assembled the people. The meeting was held in the 
open air, within forty yards of a house in which a young 
child was dying of the plague. He preached with success 
the gospel of peace to the excited and horrified multitude. 
He took, at the same time, all precautions within his reach, 
separating the sound from the unsound, and did not hesitate 
himself to discharge the duties of attendance on the dying, 
while he sent their relations away to the mountain sheilings. 
The plague soon stopped, and the people, of course, ascribed 
their safety to the miraculous power of the saint. The rock 
on which he prayed and preached in that dreadful crisis is 
called Craig-dianaidh i.e., " rock of safety." A rude cross, 
set up by the wayside, was probably erected at a later 
period, to excite the devotions of the faithful. The rock 
was henceforward the place where neighbouring chiefs could 
most safely meet in solemn conclave, both for judicial and 
other purposes. Here was held the meeting, in which the 
chief of the M'lvors, having refused to do justice to the foster- 
brother of Stewart of Garth, brought upon himself the fate 
related at length by General Stewart in his Sketches of the 
Highlanders. Near the rock is Bodach Chraig-dianaidh) a 


large round stone, which is to be placed on another flat one 
some feet high. While the seniors were in council grave, 
the young men, it is probable, were putting their strength 
to the test in lifting the Bodach. There are at least two 
other similar stones in the glen one at Cashlie, eight miles 
farther up ; and one at Lochs. Fingal, the grey-haired 
King of Morven, would, it is said, allow no youth to bear 
the warlike spear, or join the ranks of war until he lifted 
one of the Bodachs. 

When Eonan was dying, his people assembled to receive 
his blessing, and asked where he wished to be buried. He 
made the singular request that they should carry his corpse 
down the water until the withs that attached the hand- 
spikes to the bier broke, and there bury him. Faithful to 
their trust, they proceeded downwards and downwards with 
the remains of the saint, till the " dul " or withs broke at 
Dull, where St. Eonan was buried, and to which he be- 
queathed a name, and the potent magic of his sanctity. We 
find, at the end of the tenth century, the Abthania of Dull 
a singular word, that puzzled eminent antiquaries pos- 
sessed by Crynyn, " Abthane of Dull, and Seneschal of the 
Isles," who, as the father of Duncan (slain by Macbeth), and 
husband of Beatrix, daughter of King Malcolm, was the 
progenitor of a long line of princes. Doubtful tradition 
says that Dull was the first seminary of education on the 
mainland, and that, long before Kilreymonth or St. Andrews 
merged into light, the Caledonian youths there imbibed the 
learning of ancient Rome, and the comparatively pure doc- 
trines of the monks of lona. 

The saint's day was commemorated till of late by St. 
Eonan's Fair at Dull. Strange that religion should, in 


every case, be so ready to slide into worldly business and 
pleasure ! The traffickers in the temple, and the caravans 
of Mecca, are familiar examples ; and it would be in- 
structive to inquire how many of the shrines of Catholic 
saints have conferred benefits on the world by becoming 
the centres of profane markets. 

The little chapel built by St. Eonan, near the Bridge of 
Balgie, was pulled down in the fourteenth century, and a new 
one erected at a few hundred yards' distance, in the burial- 
place of Brennudh. The old pyramidal hand-bell, used at 
the religious ceremonies, is still preserved in the burial- 
ground. Within forty years ago, the miller at Milton Eonan 
would not grind on the saint's day, and a similar rest was, 
till of late, observed at Killin on the day of St. Fillan. 


WE leap over several centuries. In the early times, 
land was not of so much consequence in the eyes 
of a chief as men. The " following " was his hereditary 
property ; the land the prize of his sword. The strong clan 
dispossessed the weak, and it again one weaker than itself 
The boast of physical superiority on the part of the con- 
querors, as well as the wresting from the conquered of the 
lands of their habitation, and their means of existence, em- 
bittered and prolonged the feuds of the Highlands. We are 
often perplexed by sudden and unexplained changes of in- 
habitants, and the introduction of new names, in the early 
annals of Scotland, which, no doubt, were mostly owing to 
the practical application of Coir a Chlaidheatnh i.e., right 
of the sword. 

Glenlyon passed through many hands. According to 
popular belief, the successive dynasties of lairds were divided 
into sevens thus, seven McGregors, seven Campbells, and so 
to continue to the end of time. Towards the end of the 
reign of David Bruce, a great chief, named lain D?ibk nan 
lann black John of the spears was laird. At this time, 
from some domestic feud in the family of the Knight of 
Lochawe, his widowed daughter-in-law, the wife of his eldest 
son so tradition says and her infant son, were forced to 
abandon their native halls, and flee for refuge to Glenlyon. 
Black John married the widow, and had by her a family of 


seven sons. The young Campbell, his dalta, or step-son, 
was carefully nurtured. A neighbouring priest, probably 
the prior of Sibilla's Island, in Lochtay, instructed him in 
the knowledge of the times. Though deprived of his in- 
heritance, the adage that " knowledge is power," being never 
more true than in a barbarous age, he found himself superior 
to most of the rude chiefs, and was looked upon by them 
as an oracle advantages which, by-and-bye, he turned 
to account. 

Probably before the time that Donald of the Isles raised 
such commotions in the north certainly during the regency 
of Albany the Chisholm, chief of that period, made a foray 
to Glenlyon. The fiery cross was sent round the glen. All 
able to carry arms met at Tom-na-cuartaig, the hillock of the 
circle, near the chieftain's abode. The place is yet seen on 
the hill of Kerrumore, near the bridge of Balgie. It is an 
artificial mound of no great compass, circular, and level at 
top, save where a broad belt stretches round the edge, like 
a walk round a flower-plot. It seems to have been the 
general muster-place, probably, too the folkmote or place 
of meeting for settling any dispute that might arise among 
the people. Near it are some ruins called Tigh Iain Duibh 
nan lann " Black John of the Spear's house." It may be, a 
little excavation here would tell tales of other days. On 
the muster-ground, John and his men resolved to meet the 
foe. Chisholm and his cearnaich crossed the river, and 
were marching up the ascent. Black John prepared for 
immediate battle. For his Leichteach or body-guard he had 
his seven sons four on the right, and three on the left ; 
and, to make up the odd number, and equalise both sides, a 
very manly fellow, a cobbler, who was, when summoned, 


busied in cutting buskins from the skins of slaughtered deer 
for the men of war M'Callum by name was called out, and 
stationed with the three on the left. The day was sultry. 
Chisholm was oppressed by the weight of mailed armour 
with which, as chief, he had invested himself. He raised 
his visor, and put up his hand to wipe the blinding sweat 
from his forehead. M'Callum or, as he is better known, 
the Greusaiche Riabhach observed the movement. He 
raised his bow ; the string twanged ; the Chisholm fell 
from his horse, his right hand clinched to his bleeding 
forehead by the fatal arrow. Black John's men, with a wild 
iolach) dashed upon the amazed foe, fiercely attacked 
them by the claymore, and left few or none to bring to 
the north country the mournful tidings of their chieftain's 

Bruce, by endeavouring though unsuccessfully to in- 
stitute a quo warranto inquiry, alarmed while he irritated 
the spirit of the chiefs and nobles. Henceforward they 
prized more than formerly title-deeds and written docu- 
ments. Campbell, the dalta of Iain Dubh, one day asked the 
latter by what right he held his lands. The aged chief 
pointed to his sword and armour. " Oh," says he, " but 
there are surer safeguards than that. Age may tame the 
warrior's strength ; misfortune may snap his bow ; the foe- 
man's sword may deprive his people of their trust : then the 
right goes as it came. But take my advice, and apply to 
the king for a charter, which will not be refused, and the 
royal sword and Scotland's laws become the pledge of your 
security. More, you can rule your people and their posses- 
sions from the grave ; for, according to your will shall your 
descendants succeed for ever." " My dalta," replied John, 


" you speak the words of wisdom. See and obtain the parch- 
ment ; though, after all, I do not understand why the sword 
is not a better guard than the sheep's skin." It was obtained 
accordingly ; and, after his own seven sons and their issue, 
Campbell's name was inserted as next in succession. Dur- 
ing the troubled regency of Albany, all Iain Dubh's 
sons but one perished by the sword. He succeeded his 
father, but soon after died by an accident when hunting, 
and left the property to the Campbells, in terms of the 

The name of the first laird of the family of Campbell was 
Archibald. We have reason to believe he was not John 
Dubh's dalta, but the dalta's heir. He lived during the 
first part of the sixteenth century. He was a wise man, and 
fully conciliated the people to whose rule he had succeeded. 
The M'Gregors of Roro, who appear to have been in some 
way closely connected with the family of Iain Dubh, did 
not dispute his rights ; they received him as the heir of the 
chieftain a kindness afterwards well repaid by the Camp- 
bells of Glenlyon. 

The second laird of the Campbell family was "Donnachadh 
Ruadh na Feileachd " Red Duncan of the hospitality. He 
died in the year 1580. His profuse hospitality gained for 
him a name not yet forgotten. Bands of Irish harpers came 
to Scotland in his days. As the dispensers of fame, they 
exacted good treatment and attendance to such a degree, 
that any great bore is still called Cleadh-sheancJiain, which 
was the name given to these musical bands. The band was 
composed of a doctor of song and twelve scholars. In the 
earliest times, the bards, as a subordinate class in the order 
of Druids, were upheld by the resources of their more 


mighty sacerdotal brethren. Druidism fell ; but how could 
heroes live without their fame ? The clans maintained 
bards at their own expense; and the chiefs, as representatives 
of the clans, kept open hall for each strolling chief bard and 
his band a twelvemonth and a day, should it not happen that 
one of the chiefs retainers could excel the band in song, for 
in that case the hospitality was at an end. This, as the 
first example of Cain, or tax, was named the ancient 
kain; and the bards, as instructors of the age, cleire, or 
clergy. When, in course of time, cowled monks and 
priests assumed the mantle of instruction, and, under 
higher authority, exacted heavier dues, the old musical 
teachers were denominated Cleire-sheanchain, or, cor- 
rupted, cleadh-sheanchain that is, " clergy of the ancient 

The bard of Gorrie, an Irish chief, made his way to Glen- 
lyon. Red Duncan's hospitality was already celebrated, and 
his reception of the bard and his band did not put his well- 
earned fame to shame. A fat bullock, and six wethers, with 
red deer and other game, were daily provided for his hall. 
The bard, highly pleased, took his farewell at last. The chief 
accompanied him part of the way. The bard all at once 
complained that his linen was completely worn, and unfit 
to be seen ; Duncan stripped, and unhesitatingly accom- 
modated him with his own underclothing. When in this 
nude state, his lady happening to look forth from the 
loop-holes of Carnban Castle Red Duncan's home 
and seeing a white figure in the distance, which she took for 
one of the winged creation, she exclaimed : " Oh, such a 
large white goose ! " From that the place received a 


After a friendly convoy, Duncan returned, and ordered 
his gillies to double everything for to-morrow's entertain- 
ment ; " for," says he, " the bard suspects I have furnished 
my board only for his sake ; his departure is a sham ; he 
will return to-morrow." It happened as anticipated. To 
his astonishment, the bard found the hospitable board 
better replenished than ever. Some time after, he took his 
departure in real earnest, and when his own employer, 
Gorrie, inquired about Red Duncan, and put it to him if 
strangers fared not better with himself, the bard promptly 
replied : 

" Molar Gorrie thar a mhuir 
Is gach duine na thir fein ; 
Ach na coimisear duine do t-sluagh 
Ri Donnachadh Ruadh ach e fein." 

" Let Gorrie be praised over the sea, and each man in his 
own country ; but let none of the race of men be compared 
to Red Duncan but himself." Gorrie, indignant at 
this extremely plain reply, dismissed the bard, who, 
wending his way back to Scotland, received from Red 
Duncan a piece of land still called Croit a Bhaird\hs. 
bard's croft. 

Carnban Castle, where Duncan resided, is built on a steep 
conical hillock, about three miles beyond the entrance of 
the glen. It was defended by a ditch and drawbridge. The 
ruins are in good condition. It was a square, or rather 
oblong, tower, vaulted and loopholed, with a wide hospit- 
able-looking chimney in the west gable, and a round tower 
with a cork-screw stair butting out from the adjacent side. 
It commands a noble view of the bend of the glen between 


Innervar on the west, and the pass of Chesthill on the east. 
It was towards the latter end of autumn I was last there 
The wind was soughing down the leaves in the surround- 
ing woods ; the hill sides had put on their russet garb ; 
and the sun, peeping through a chink of the opposite moun- 
tain top, made the black slimy rocks of Dericambus glitter 
like glass. The ruins were profusely covered with the pretty 
wall-fern, and a young squirrel gambolled in a plantain tree 
that had stuck its roots in the floor of the once hospitable 
hall. The hold was ruined soon after Red Duncan's 
death by a party of Lochaber men, who forayed the 
glen, and, in passing, shot from the opposite side of 
the river an arrow, to which a piece of burning lint 
was attached ; the dry heath thatching caught the 
flame, and so Red Duncan's tower shared the fate of 

The gratitude of the tuneful confraternity was not bought 
in vain. " He is as hospitable as Donnachadh Ruadh na 
feileachd " is yet a byword ; his laudations survive in the 
poetry both of Ireland and Scotland. 

Duncan was succeeded by his son Colin. He married a 
sister of Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenorchy, the true 
founder of the Breadalbane family. In his latter days, when 
far from old, he lost his reason, and this gained him the epithet 
of " gorach," or mad. But there was method in his madness. 
A party of Lochaber men (by-the-bye, they called all be- 
yond the Moss of Rannoch and the Blackmount Lochaber 
men in those days), headed by Dougal, the second son of the 
chief of Muidart, forayed a part of the estate of Glenlyon, 
when on their way with, I believe, stolen cattle to one of 
the southern trysts. Two of Colin's tenants, making oppo- 


sition to the spoilers, were slain. Before the Glenlyon men 
could muster, they had escaped with their prey. An am- 
buscade was laid against their return. Colin's eldest son, 
Duncan, and a strong party, encountered Dougal and his 
men at the head of Glendochart, and made them prisoners. 
They were brought to Meggernie Castle, and put in durance 
vile. Duncan went immediately to Edinburgh to give them 
up to Government. He sent a message to his father, telling 
him there was every prospect of the prisoners getting off 
free, through court interest. Mad Colin became ten times 
more mad than before. " Pardon ! " says he ; " pardon 
men taken red-handed in the act of murdering my 
tenants ! By the might of Mary ! it shall not be so." The 
captives, said to be thirty-six in number, were taken out 
and strung up to so many trees, about a mile to the east 
of Meggernie Castle, on the brae side, called Leachd nan 
Abrach Lochabermen's brae. Dougal, the leader, is 
said to have been shot by Colin himself. His body 
subsequently received the rites of burial at the hands 
of a follower more humane than his master. Cam Diighail 
i.e. y Dougal's cairn, is a stonecast above the bridge of 

Duncan was horrified on his return to hear of the sum- 
mary proceedings of his father. The Muidart family repre- 
sented the matter at Edinburgh in a very strong light. 
Colin and his son were both outlawed. That was all. Strong 
in the fidelity of his followers, and the friendship of 
neighbouring chiefs, who were mostly hostile to the govern- 
ment, the mad laird of Glenlyon put king and council to 

When his vagaries became extravagant, his son, on the 


plea of his father's madness, made peace with the govern- 
ment, and was himself appointed administrator of the estate. 
Yet the mad laird was left at large, and, with Finlay, his 
attendant, wandered as far and widely among the hills, in 
pursuit of game, as his heart could desire. Many stories 
are told of their wanderings and doings. I may give one. 
They were after the deer, the chase was unsuccessful, and 
Colin's mood was chafed. On the brow of Stuic-an-lochain 
a huge rock beetling over a deep circular mountain tarn 
they encountered a flock of goats. Mad Colin and his 
man forced them over the precipice. When surveying their 
work from the top of the cliff, Colin unexpectedly came be- 
hind Finlay, and ordered him, in a threatening voice, to 
jump over. He knew it was useless to resist. He said 
quietly, and as a matter of course : " I will, Glenlyon ; but," 
looking at a grey stone behind them, " I would just like 
to say my prayers at yon stone first; it is so like an 
altar." Colin mused, looked at the stone, and, letting go 
his hold, bade him go, and be back immediately. Finlay 
reached the stone, knelt down, muttered whatever came 
uppermost, and every now and then took a sly look at his 
master. Colin stood yet on the edge of the cliff, and kept 
looking on the mangled bodies of the goats. He seemed to 
become horrified at his own mad work. Finlay lost not his 
opportunity. He stealthily crept behind his master, grasped 
him by the shoulders, and shouted, in a thundering voice : 
" Leap after the goats." The unhappy lunatic supplicated 
for mercy, in vain. Finlay 's grasp was like a vice ; and he 
so held him over the precipice, that if let go he could not 
recover himself, but inevitably fall over. " Let me go this 
once," supplicated Colin. " Swear, first, you shall not cir- 



cumvent me again." " By Mary ? " " Nay, by your father's 
sword." " By my father's sword, I swear." " That will do ; 
now we go home." 

Mad Colin built the Castle of Meggernie, probably about 
1582. It was enlarged and altered by his great-grandson, 
of unhappy memory, the Commander at Glencoe. 


IN 1590, a commission was granted to Sir Duncan 
Campbell of Glenorchy, empowering him to pursue the 
clan Gregor with fire and sword, and forbidding any of the 
lieges to reset them. Mad Colin was first married to Sir 
Duncan's sister, on whose death he married a sister of the 
Laird of Lawers, who was Glenorchy' s right-hand man in the 
persecution of the clan Gregor. Colin, as a clansman and 
near relative, was solicited to join them by the Knight and 
Lawers. Remembering Iain dubh nan lann's gift to his fore- 
fathers, he viewed the project with abhorrence, laid a curse on 
those who proposed it, and threatened death to any who in- 
jured a M'Gregor within his bounds. To mark his contempt, 
he invited all the M'Gregors in his neighbourhood to a great 
feast that he prepared for them. But there was a traitor 
in the camp : his wife had sent secret information to her 
brother Lawers, and pointed out how, at one fell swoop, he 
could destroy so many enemies. As dinner was not served 
up as soon as Colin wished it, he sent his henchman to ask 
the cause of the delay. The lady, forgetting herself, replied 
quickly : " I expect my brother." The reply was announced 
in the hall ; and the M'Gregors, thinking they had been en- 
trapped, rushed out, deaf to all Colin could say. It was 
time : Lawers was crossing the ford below.the castle, before 
they gained the hill-side. Colin was disgraced on his own 
hearth by his nearest friends. He had his revenge; for,. 


that night, his wife and son, by the second marriage, left 
Glenlyon to return no more. The boy, known by the name 
of Cailean Lionnack, was brought up by his uncle Lawers. 
Cairlean Gorach died about 1597. 

Donnachadh Ruadh Mac Cailein (Red Duncan, the son of 
Colin), followed his father's footsteps in protecting the 
M'Gregors. After the battle of Glenfruin, the persecution 
of the clan was renewed with tenfold severity. The story 
of this battle, and the immediate cause which led to it, as I 
learned from the grey-haired sennachies who knew the past, 
is as follows: Before Marshal Wade paved the way for 
carriers and stage-coaches, the Highlanders received all 
their little necessaries and luxuries through the hands of 
pedlars, who made regular visits to one or other of the large 
towns, and brought back in their packs the articles chiefly 
in demand at home. The pedlars, as a class, were of great 
importance to the whole community, and Highland faith 
and hospitality guaranteed to them security and good re- 
ception wherever they went. Two pedlars of the M'Gregors 
of Dunan, in the Braes of Rannoch, were benighted while 
on their way home from Glasgow, on the property of Sir 
Humphrey Colquhoun of Luss. They asked hospitality, 
which was refused. This churlishness was owing to the 
quarrels of the Colquhouns with their neighbours, the 
M'Gregors of Glengyle ; but the Colquhouns, in setting 
limits to the hospitality asked, so far violated the conven- 
tional and hereditary code of Highland morality, that the 
pedlars deemed themselves justified in taking what was re- 
fused. They kindled a fire in an unoccupied sheiling-house, 
and taking a wedder from the fold, killed it, and feasted on 
its carcase. Unluckily for them, the wedder was the most 


marked animal in the fold. It was black all but the tail, 
which was white. In the morning, the shepherds missed at 
once " Mult dubh an earbailghil" the black wedder with 
the white tail. The pedlars were at once suspected, pur- 
sued, captured, brought back, condemned, and hanged 
without delay. The McGregors could not tamely pass over 
such an affront. Alastair of Glenstrae, the chief of the clan, 
with about 300 men, left Rannoch in the beginning of the 
year 1602, and encamped on the Colquhoun marches, He 
proposed an accommodation, on condition that the Colqu- 
houns acknowledged their fault, and made reparation to the 
friends of the deceased by paying the blood eric. Sir 
Humphrey, having assembled a large force composed of 
Colquhouns, Buchanans, and the citizens of Dumbarton 
scorned the offers of peace. The battle of Glenfruin was 
fought, Colquhoun's party utterly routed ; and during the 
fight, Dugald Ciar Mor, who quietly sleeps now in the 
churchyard of Fortingall, stabbed a number of clerical stu- 
dents who had come from Dumbarton to see the battle, and 
had been consigned to his care by the chief. When the 
latter inquired for the students, Dugald showed his bloody 
dagger, and said : " Ask that, and God's mercy " that being 
the exclamation of the students when dying. 

After this battle, the crusade against the clan raged with 
irresistible fury. The Laird of Glenlyon dared no longer 
openly protect them ; and his brave heart swelled to see 
Lawers exultingly scouring the glen with his blood-hounds. 
In secret, Duncan and his men did all they could to succour 
the fugitives. One of the proscribed, by name Gregor Ban 
Mor, after running the gauntlet for some time with his pur- 
suer, and making more escapes than I can here describe, one 


day suddenly presented himself before Donnachadh M'Cai- 
lein, and offered him his sword, bidding him do with him 
what he liked, as he was weary of life. " Keep your sword," 
said Duncan ; " I do not pursue your clan. If you wish to 
surrender, go to Lawers ; he knows how to mete out mercy 
and justice to the M'Gregors." " To Lawers ? and die the 
death of a dog by the hands of a coward ! No ; since I 
must die, let me receive the death-blow as a warrior should 
from a brave man." " By Mary ! you say well ; will you 
go to Lawers with a letter from me ? " "I will." " Then 
you will set out to-night, and, if he lets you go, be back to- 
morrow at noon." So said, so done. M'Gregor, under the 
safeguard of Glenlyon's letter, presented himself to Lawers 
in the morning, when making ready to renew the pursuit 
after him. The cruel are generally cowardly ; and Lawers 
was glad to let the enemy, now within his power, off scot 
free, ere more harm came of it. M'Gregor lost some time 
on the way, and was an hour or two too late in appearing 
before Glenlyon. He found the chieftain at the head of his 
men, banner displayed, and pipe playing, on the point of 
marching to Breadalbane, to revenge the supposed death of 
the fugitive. Gregor explained. The chieftain smoothed 
his ruffled brow, and said : " It is well. Had it been other- 
wise, ere night the house of Lawers would perish stock, 
shoot, and branch. Though in my quarrel with Black Dun- 
can with the Cowl, kindred blood glues the sword to the 
scabbard, thank Heaven ! there is no such bar to hinder my 
revenge upon his minion Lawers." This is the abridged 
version of a story often yet told over the winter fire by the 
old Highlanders. 

Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenorchy, or " Black Duncan 


with the Cowl" (Donnachadh diibh a ckurraichd), the uncle of 
M'Cailein, was, according to the unvarying testimony oi 
Highland tradition, a character such as cannot here very 
well be described. In high credit at the Court of James 
VI., he easily obtained charters of the lands of the 
M'Gregors and other foolish chieftains, who continued to 
hold their property by " coir a chlaidheamh" then set them 
together by the ears, and, when weakened by mutual slaugh- 
ter, by the power conferred upon him in the charters, or 
under the pretext of preserving the public peace, he quietly 
took possession of the belligerents' land, which he ever 
afterwards held by no slippery grasp. We may give one 
example of his modus operandi. Fletcher of Achallader 
had a small estate in the Braes of Glenorchy. Sir Duncan, 
wishing to have the whole glen, took his measures to destroy 
his neighbour, and, as usual, without implicating himself. 
With some attendants among whom was an English ser- 
vant he went, as if on a friendly visit, to the Laird of 
Achallader. When near the house, he ordered the Eng- 
lishman to go forward, and let the hungry horses loose in a 
patch of corn on the haugh, and if any spoke to him, to give 
no heed, as he would soon be forward himself, and see 
everything put to rights. The servant did as required. 
Fletcher, astounded to see the man letting the horses 
loose in his corn, called upon him, from one of the windows 
of his house, to remove them immediately ; and, as he paid 
no attention, threatened, with the irascibility of a High- 
lander, to shoot him upon the spot. The Englishman, who 
understood not a word, gave no sign of compliance ; and 
Fletcher, in a transport of boundless rage, put his threat 
into execution, and the servant fell. Sir Duncan took good 


care to be near enough to witness the tragedy. He showed to 
Fletcher that his life had become forfeited to the law, that 
there was no resource but immediate flight, and as his pro- 
perty would be clearly lost, if remaining in his own name, he 
advised him to make it over to him (Sir Duncan) by a kind 
of fictitious sale then very prevalent, and he promised to 
hold it in trust for him until he returned. Fletcher did as 
advised, with many thanks ; and the friendly Sir Duncan 
efficiently provided against his ever returning to claim the 

The all-grasping knight could not at times keep his 
fingers off the properties of the Siol Diarmid itself. As ob- 
served before, the legal tenure of land was for long little 
appreciated by the Celtic clans ; and after claims to the 
lower and more fertile places were settled and secured, the 
mountain sheilings, used as summer pasture, remained often 
a kind of commonty among the clansmen of different chief- 
tains. Luban, in the braes of Glenlyon, was in this predica- 
ment. The Laird of Glenlyon claimed it by prescriptive right. 
Sir Duncan advanced counter claims as King's forester. The 
quarrel, some time in abeyance, was brought to a crisis 
by M'Cailein building a shepherd's hut on the disputed 
ground. Sir Duncan, whose genius lay rather in the tricks 
of diplomacy than in the rough jousting of war, proposed a 
friendly conference to settle all disputes on the spot. M'Cai- 
lein came on the appointed day with the stipulated number 
of twelve armed attendants ; but what was his amazement 
to find his uncle and a hundred men in arms before him at 
the obnoxious hut ! He saluted him, however, as though 
no treachery were intended. Sir Duncan, with the cold 
smile his countenance usually assumed, pointed to his men, 


and in studied terms showed his claims, and exhorted his 
kinsman peacefully to drop all opposition. M'Cailein stood 
before the wily man, his brow clouded with anger, but 
firmly self-confident. With an effort at self-control, he 
heard him uninterruptedly to the end, but not without pay- 
ing dear. The point of his unsheathed sword rested on his 
soft brogue, and unconsciously he kept boring with it until 
brogue and foot were equally pierced through. " Now give 
thy say for peace, fair nephew," concluded Sir Duncan. 
" Never ! " fiercely replied M'Cailein. " What," said the 
knight " what can you hope to do with your pitiful twelve 
against my hundred? My men, pull down the hut." 
" Whatever a man of clean heart may against a craven 
treacherous fox " making a spring, clutching Sir Duncan 
by the throat, and brandishing his sword. " I shall have 
your life first, and as many other lives afterwards as I can/' 
His men now could do little for the knight ; for M'Cailein, 
at their slightest movement to rescue him, threatened to 
plunge his sword in their captain's breast, and they knew he 
was the man to keep his word. Sir Duncan begged pardon, 
and obtained it. His parting words were : " St. Martin, 
nephew " (by-the-bye, how or when did Martin of Tours 
become a chief Scottish Saint ?) " I will not risk my good 
against your violence ; but of me will yet come those who 
shall possess Luban." Magician as he was counted to be, 
these words did not prove prophetic. 

But Sir Duncan, if a magician himself, did not approve 
of magic in others. On one occasion, when clan necessity 
had thrown him and his nephew together, an Italian wizard 
accosted Sir Duncan, offering to show him wonders. The 
knight pooh-poohed, and told him to go to M'Cailein, add- 


ing he was ready to gape at his impostures. He did as 
advised ; and the chieftain, pleased at the man's perform- 
ance who, from his pretensions, appears to have been a 
Rosicrucian gave him what money was in the sporran. 
The Italian, touched at the liberality, offered M'Cailein a 
miraculous stone, said to be preserved yet in the family of 
Garden of Troup, that through the female line became 
heirs-at-law to Dr. David Campbell, the last Laird of Glen- 
iyon. It was called, in the language of the country, 
" clach-buadha " stone of victory because water off this 
stone, when sprinkled by the heir of Glenlyon upon his men 
before entering battle, ensured them success. It was also 
reckoned a charm against ball wounds, lead being supposed 
to have no effect on those sprinkled by it. This became 
apocryphal, at least after the battle of Sheriffmuir, in which 
several of the Glenlyon men fell by musket wounds. It 
was one property of this stone, that, when put into cold 
water, it caused it to bubble as if boiling. 

Red Duncan was not as prudent as he was brave. The 
following gambling story I give as I received it. Some 
law plea had brought M'Cailein to Edinburgh. Hav- 
ing nothing else to do, he entered a gambling-house, and 
sat down to play at cards with the master. M'Cailein lost 
game after game ; but, as if taking pleasure in seeing him- 
self plucked, he continued to play. When his cash was 
gone, he rose to depart. " Come," said the gambler, " you 
have lost often ; let us have another game, and, to give you 
your revenge, I don't mind though I stake two to one." 
" My sporran is turned inside out," replied he. " Never 
mind ; I'll stake cash against your word, chief, if you pledge 
it." "No ; the word of a Highland chief is pledged only 


among those who know it shall be redeemed. He speaks 
in deeds to the suspicion of the strangers. Here are the 
title-deeds of my property (I had to produce them before 
your Red Lords to-day) ; I'll stake them, subject to redemp- 
tion within forty days, on this game." It is over. M'Cai- 
lein rises : his brow is flushed ; he grasps the gambler's 
hand, making the blood start at the nails ; his voice sounds 
as a muffled drum, or like the ghost of the storm. " The 
home of my fathers is yours, and may the devil give you 
joy of it. But when taking possession, encase yourself in 
steel. The land is yours ; but, mark me, the men are mine. 
A Saxon cowherd may be baron. God forbid he can be 
chief. Adieu ! * 

The time was short, money scarce, and, however willing, 
M'Cailein's friends were unable, within the appointed 
period, to raise the sum necessary. Sir Duncan is said to 
have been applied to in vain. The crest-fallen Laird re- 
turned to Edinburgh empty-handed. When about entering 
the gambling-house, to see what was going on, the servant- 
maid took him aside, and asked (in Gaelic) whether he was 
the gentleman that, a month before, lost his property at 
cards. Being answered in the affirmative, she said : " Well, 
I am sorry for you, and will do all I can to help you. Don't 
enter just now ; go somewhere, and disguise yourself. Re- 
turn, and when I tell you, enter. You will find the room 
empty; place yourself in the chair opposite the mirror. 
You shall see in it what cards your opponent holds. He'll 
dare not ask you to leave his chair ; and it's hard if I can't 
trump up a story to make him play at any venture. 
M'Cailein did as directed, and won one game after another. 
The gambler refused to play any longer, as his money was 


all lost. " Come," said M'Cailein, " I leave Edinburgh to- 
morrow. I'll stake my whole gains on the next game." " I 
have nothing," said the other, " but the title-deeds of a 
Highland property, which I won the other day, and are sub- 
ject to redemption." " What is the name of the place ? " 
" Glenlyon, I think." " Glenlyon and M'Cailein ! I know 
them well. Make sieves of your parchments at the first 
opportunity ; the glen people are real devil's bairns. Set 
up a claim against M'Cailein, and you'll have a dozen dirks 
in your body ere night." " But you accept the stake, I 
hope ? " " Well, I do, though it is throwing bread upon the 
water." Red Duncan was again the winner; and, as he 
pocketed his money and papers, he told his astonished op- 
ponent who he was. Coming home, he met his relative Sir 
Duncan, en route for Edinburgh, to buy Glenlyon for him- 

Duncan M'Cailein died at an advanced age, about 1640. 
I find no trace of it in local tradition, but he, more probably 
than any of his ancestors certainly than any of his descend- 
ants was the hero of the old ballad 

" Bonnie Babby Livingstane 
Gaed oot tae see the kye, 
And she has met with Glenlyon, 
Who has stolen her away. 

" He took frae her her sattin coat, 
But an her silken gown, 
Syne row'd her in his tartan plaid, 
And happ'd her roun' an' roun'." 


A RCHIBALD, the eldest son of Donnachadh Ruadh, 
\. married, in 1631, Jean, the daughter of Robert 
Campbell of Glenfalloch, who, on the death of his elder 
brother, Sir Colin, became Sir Robert Campbell of Glen- 
orchy. He was the second son of Black Duncan, and the 
grandfather of the first Earl of Breadalbane, called by 
the country people, " Jain Glas "that is, " Pale John." 
Archibald's eldest son, Robert, the commander at Glencoe, 
was born in 1632. The family estate, much burdened by the 
imprudent extravagance of Duncan, was relieved of almost 
all the claims upon it, in a few years, by the fostering care 
of Archibald, to whom the father had given up the entire 
management in his own lifetime. But Archibald was not 
destined to reap the benefit of his wisdom, or realise his 
plans of ambition and family aggrandisement. He died 
suddenly about 1640, a few years before his father. The 
aged Duncan reappeared upon the stage, and his first act 
was characteristic of the man : it was granting a bond for 
loco merks to Patrick Campbell of Murlaganbeg, who 
married his daughter Grace or Girsell. 

Between 1640 and 1654, when Robert Campbell attained 
his majority, Glenlyon was under a tutor and a minor. 
The Lady Glenlyon, as she was called, sedulously kept free 
from taking any part in the civil war of that troubled epoch. 
Her tenants, however, following their own inclination, and 


the known sentiments of their dead chieftain, joined the 
standard of Montrose under Patrick Roy M'Gregor, the chief 
of his clan, and the Lady of Glenlyon's second husband. 
Montrose showed his gratitude to the Glenlyon men, by 
sparing their lands and houses, when, on his march to Ar- 
gyle, he mercilessly laid waste Breadalbane and other pos- 
sessions of Campbell of Glenorchy. In 1655, when Robert 
was 23 years of age, Cromwell had Scotland prostrated by 
the victories of Dunbar and Worcester ; Ireland paralysed 
by the butcheries of Tredah and Wexford her very pulse 
of life repressed by the inflexible severity of Ireton, and the 
pushing energy of Ludlow ; England beginning to enjoy 
the sweets of peace, and content to let her magnanimous 
Protector dissolve the phantom Parliament, and sternly 
inculcate lessons of toleration on jarring sects. Her naval 
strength broken, Holland now sued for peace ; Blake scoured 
the Mediterranean, threatened the Pope, humbled the Duke 
of Tuscany, and made his name a terror to the dusky war- 
riors of Tunis and Algiers. The daring usurper, secure at 
home, admired abroad, could at the same time, and with 
equal ease, exact the obsequiousnss of Mazarin, browbeat 
the court of France, execute the brother of the Portuguese 
ambassador on Towerhill, hold out the hand of friendship to 
Protestant Sweden, and aim a death-blow at the haughtiness 
of Spain. The hapless heir of loyalty, an outcast from his 
country, his services refused by the Dutch, disowned and 
banished by the court of France, lavishing on sensual and 
degrading debaucheries the sums doled out to the princely 
beggar by royal hands, seemed by his very vices to have 
taken a bond of fate, for shutting him out for ever from 
succeeding to the British throne. Still, through his exile 


and follies, the national eye of Scotland followed with fond 
desire the heir of her hundred kings. The Covenanters and 
Highlanders met at last on common ground : these hoping, 
on the exaltation of Charles, to expiate the affront offered to 
the whole Celtic race by the expulsion of the Stuarts ; those 
hoping, under a Prince who had signed the Covenant, to re- 
cover their lost theological supremacy and independence 
both trusting to retrieve the honour of their country, and re- 
cover the martial wreath lost at Worcester and Dunbar. 
During Cromwell's domination, the spirit of loyalty among 
the Campbells themselves attained such strength as to 
quench personal feuds and enmities of long standing. The 
first thing in which we find the name of Robert Campbell is 
a precept of Clare Constat, from Sir Robert Campbell of 
Glenorchy to Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, dated 2Oth July, 
1655. The son of Black Duncan with the Coivl and the grand- 
son of M'Cailein became fast friends in their eagerness to 
serve their Prince. Monk, who appears to have been well 
aware of the intrigues among the clans, prudently provided 
against any opportunity of an outbreak, and with such success 
as to be able, whenever he pleased, down to the end of the 
Protectorate, to date his despatches from the Castle of Fin- 
larig ; but as he passively connived at loyal movements, if 
he not actually fostered them, it seems highly probable he 
wished the spirit to spread, and the knowledge that such 
materials for a royal army existed in Scotland certainly in- 
fluenced his conduct on the death of Oliver. 

Perhaps it was unfortunate for the laird of Glenlyon that 
war did not break out ; as it was, young and comparatively 
rich, he plunged headlong into the pleasures of the Resto- 
ration, and soon reduced himself to difficulties from which 


an age of repentance could not extricate him. Before the 
establishment of banks, almost all monetary exchange was 
carried on through heritable and personal bonds. A wanted 
money ; he applied to B, who lent him a bond upon D suf- 
ficient to pay the debt, for which A granted to B his own 
bond, redeemable at a certain date, and burdened with a 
penalty in case of failure. In this case, say that B repre- 
sents the bank, and the bond upon D bank-notes, which are 
in effect bonds payable on demand. Now, as there is con- 
siderable risk, A's bond must not only cover the sum ad- 
vanced, with the usual adrent and penalty, but also a larther 
sum to indemnify B for the risk he runs in surrendering to 
A the bond upon D, or his bank-notes, in exchange for A's 
bond. A is a landed proprietor ; he grants in course of 
time to B, and others, several similar bonds. B quarrels 
with A, and buys up all the bonds granted by the latter to 
others ; the amount of these, and of those he himself holds, 
he claims from A. A is well aware that his lands are worth 
ten times the sum, but as he cannot realise the money, and 
letters of horning and caption are out against him at B's 
instance, he is obliged to wadset his lands to the latter, re- 
serving the power of redemption for a certain number of 
years. At the end of that time, A cannot pay, and B be- 
comes the permanent lord of the manor. The extreme 
facility in granting, and the always increasing difficulties in 
reclaiming, ruined probably more of the British nobility and 
gentry in the reign of Charles II. than the whole number 
the sword had cut off of their class in England during the 
bloody war of the Roses. 

Robert, about 1670, married Helen Lindsay, and put the 
copestone on his imprudent extravagance by commencing 


extensive alterations and repairs on his castle of Meggernie, 
originally built by his great-grandfather, Cailean Gorach. 
The repairs were finishedin 1673, and at the same time his 
credit was exhausted. His unreclaimed bonds were many, 
and the holders clamorous for payment. The machinery of 
the law was set in motion against him, and we find in that 
year " Our Sovereign Lord " ordaining a letter to be made 
under his Majesty's privy seal of a signature of the estate 
and liferent of Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, in favour of 
Patrick Stewart of Ballaguhine. A compromise was, how- 
ever, entered into. The splendid fir forests of Glenlyon 
were sold to a company of merchants, at the head of which 
was a certain Captain John Crawford. This relieved Robert 
of the more pressing claims. Yet it was with grief and in- 
dignation he saw his woods, the relics of the great Cale- 
donian forest, destroyed by the stranger ; and he was glad 
when Crawford had trespassed on the jointure lands of his 
mother, to have a chance to stop him in name of the law, as 
follows: "At Milton of Glenlyon, the twenty-eight day of 
Jully, jm.vic. and seventy-seven years which day, in presence 
of me, notary public, and witnesses underwritten, compeared 
personally Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, as factor for Jean 
Campbell, Lady Glenlyon elder, his mother, and having in 
his hands ane factory made and granted by her to him for 
acting and doing for her in everything, &c. ; and anent her 
hurts and prejudices done to her by Captain John Crawford, 
by cutting and destroying the ground, cornes, and grass 
pertaining to her, as part of her jointure out of the lands of 
Glenlyon, and damming and stopping the water of Lyon, 
and the fishing thereof, and also in sending down by the 
said water the timber of two thousand of great fir planks in 


one bulk, which dammed the whole water in several places 
thereof, and hindered the whole fishing of the said river for 
the space of last year. Wherefore the said Robert Camp- 
bell, day and date thereof, said place where the said Captain 
John Crawford and said workmen are now working at said 
work, made civil interruption, and desired them and the 
rest of their company to desist and cease : * * ' * And 
in like manner protested against the said Captain John 
Crawford, for cutting of the said woods and laying the same 
in great heaps, and keeping a great fire thereat, and burning 
of the same in manifest contempt and prejudice, &c. And 
in like manner forbad these things now done on Druim- 
an-lochane, in Milton of Eonan in Glenlyon, between three 
and four hours in the afternoon. * * * " The mention 
of the great fires kept in the woods will explain to the 
Glenlyon men why the stocks of fir, which they disentomb 
from the moss for their winter light, are mostly all charred, 
and, as the date is known, it affords an excellent mark for 
determining the growth of the moss itself. The " civil in- 
terruption " of the legal instrument was not quick enough 
in its operation to please the Glenlyon people. The dam 
was broken, and the sawmill set on fire one fine summer 
evening, and I have heard in boyhood a song in which it 
was commemorated : " Mar loisg iad na daimh chrochdach 
air bord a mhuilinn shabhaidh" i.e., "How they burned the 
wide-horned oxen on the boards of Crawford's sawmill ; " 
it being oxen that he used, instead of horses, for dragging 
the wood. Crawford had made himself extremely unpopular. 
His sawmill was erected at first on the same stream with 
Eonan 's mill ; and, as the water was not sufficient to keep 
the two going together, many an unlucky wight had long 


to wait Crawford's high behest before his corn could be 
ground. It happened once that an honest man had so 
wasted the whole day, and still there was no appearance of 
the sawmill being stopped. Meantime, two or three of the 
neighbours dropped in to have a crack ; the mill, the smithy, 
and the kirk being then, as afterwards, the places for 
the exchange of news. As they entered into conversation, 
the man who wanted his corn ground, addressing one of the 
new-comers who was believed to have the gift of the evil 
eye said : "Well, Callum, I'll give you something, if you go 
up to Crawford's mill and praise it." Callum did go, and, 
looking at the saw, praised it very much. Crawford, well 
pleased, was at pains to show him how the wheels worked. 
Unhappy man ! under the blasting influence of the evil eye, 
the machinery got entangled, the saw-wheel broke, and a 
splinter, striking a workman in the face, deprived him of an 
eye ! It is needless to add, Crawford's mill came to a dead 
stand, and the countryman got his meal made thanks to 
the potent influence of the Beum-sul. 

I have mentioned above how the families of Glenorchy 
and Glenlyon were reconciled. The good old Sir Robert 
appears to have purchased his grandson's goodwill partly by 
granting him a leasehold tack of some of his lands in Lome. 
We find Sir Robert's successor, Sir John, in 1662, recover- 
ing these lands on payment of a certain sum of money to 
Glenlyon, whose expenses were already exceeding his in- 
come. We have shown how a man could be ruined by the 
bond system of exchange. Now, it is evident in the case 
of a man of tact, cunning, and prudence, the converse was 
just as easy and certain. Sir John Campbell of Glenorchy, 
inheriting the talents and intriguing spirit of his ancestor, 


Sir Duncan, rather than the quiet, friendly disposition of 
his father and grandfather and having, as described by 
Mackay, " the gravity of a Spaniard, the cunning of a fox, 
the wisdom of a serpent, and the slipperiness of an eel " 
was for the last 40 years of his life perhaps the most im- 
portant character of the north. Courted for his influence 
and ability, he cheated James and William in turns, exe- 
cuted his own projects under the mask of their authority, 
and veiled treachery and treason with such cleverness as 
always to evade punishment, often suspicion ; he was the 
Fouche of the Highlands. Buying up a great many bonds 
granted by George Sinclair, 6th Earl of Caithness, whose 
widow he afterwards married as his second wife, he 
served himself that nobleman's chief creditor, and obtained 
a disposition from him of his whole estate and earldom, 
with the hereditary jurisdiction and titles. When the Earl 
died in 1676, Sir John's claim was acknowledged by Govern- 
ment, and he was created by patent, dated 28th June, 
1677 Earl of Caithness. The next heir male of the house 
of Caithness George Sinclair of Keiss contested his claim, 
and the Caithness men refused to pay rent to Sir John, or 
acknowledge him as Earl. In 1677 or 1678, Sir John, now 
Earl of Caithness, granted to Robert Campbell a bond for 
5000 pounds (Scots of course) ; and in the year 1680, Glen- 
lyon, at the head of the Breadalbane and Glenlyon men, 
entered Caithness in hostile array to reduce the refractory 
Sinclairs to obedience. The raid is named Ruaig Ghallu 
the rout of Caithness. Gallu is still the name given 
by the Highlanders to Caithness, on account of its having 
been possessed by the Scandinavians, a remarkable instance 
of the use that could be made of the names of places in the 


study of ethnology. The Sinclairs, it appears, expected the 
invasion, and were fully prepared to meet it. In such force 
did they muster, that Glenlyon and his friends did not deem 
an immediate trial of strength advisable. The Campbells 
began a sham retreat, the Caithness men following in full pur- 
suit, till the foe retired from their bounds. The Sinclairs 
then halted at a village on the confines of the earldom, and 
made a happy night of it, drinking generous mountain dew 
to excess in honour of their success, and to the confusion o 
enemies the very thing the wily Campbell wanted. In 
the early morning, he surprised the disorderly mob, 
killed a great number, utterly routed the remainder, 
pushed on without intermission, and drove off the unguarded 
creach without further let or hindrance. The women and 
children the only persons left at home were fearfully 
roused from their morning slumbers by the exulting strains 
of Glenlyon's piper, who, to give greater eclat to the affair, 
improvised for the occasion the pibroch called " Bodaich 
nam Briogan " i.e., Carles in Trousers ; the latter being the 
lower habiliments of the Caithness men, in contradistinction 
to the kilts of the Gael. In the following version of some 
of the Glenlyon words to this pibroch, I have attempted 
nothing like a literal translation, but I trust something of 
the spirit is preserved, so as to give the reader ignorant of 
Gaelic some idea of the jubilant strain of triumph in the 
original : 

Women of the lonely glen, 
Are ye sleeping, sleeping then ? 
When Glenlyon's hostile lance 
Routs in hundreds all at once. 
Bodaich nam Briogan, early ? 


And broken host and dastard flight, 
The field, where grim Death sits bedight, 
Confess to our prowess fairly ? 

Dream'st yet of safety, sleeping dame ? 
Hear, then, to my pibroch's echoing swell : 
It tells the sgeul,* and tells it well, 
Of slaughtered men 
And forayed glen, 

The victor's joy and your country's shame : 
Who is first in the chase will find the game. 
Rise, widowed dame ? 

The breezes fan 
The Campbells' broad banners early ! 

The victors quartered themselves for some time among 
the vanquished. They brought home the spoils without 
mishap ; and in addition to the cattle, as the Highlanders 
express it, they brought " Or Ghallu gu bord Bhealaich " 
" the gold of Caithness to the table of Balloch " (or Tay- 
mouth). In 1681, the king put an end to the feud, by 
making Sinclair Earl of Caithness, and granting Sir John 
a new patent of nobility, dated I3th August, 1681, creating 
him Earl of Breadalbane and Holland, with the precedency 
of the former patent. 



THE spirit of clanship, aggressive beyond its own pale, 
was strictly conservative within. The chief of a 
large clan felt it as much his bounden duty to see to the 
stability and welfare of the chieftains, as they, in their turn, 
were obliged to look to the happiness and preservation of 
their dependents. It has already been shown how Robert 
Campbell involved himself in difficulties that proved 
insurmountable. He struggled on for a few years ; 
but, sinking deeper and deeper, recourse was ultimately had 
to the ComhairV -taighe of the clan of Diarmid. The fol- 
lowing deed, by which the chief, and the next most 
powerful nobleman of the clan, were nominated trustees, in 
order, if possible, to restore the Laird of Glenlyon to 
his former independence, was the result. The document 
s given, as far as it can be deciphered, literatim et ver- 
batim : 

" Be it kend to all men be thir present Letters, Me Robert Campbell 
of Glenlyon, Forsameikle as I considering, That *yr are severall debts, 
soumes of monney, and oyr incumberances affecting and burdeineing 
my Lands and others belonging to me, tending to the apparent ruine 
and distructione of my esteat and fortoune, iff not tymously prevented 
by prudent and wholsome councill and advyce ; And yt it is simply 
and altogether impossible for me, be my-self allon, to take course with 
the sd debts and incumberances, and to manadge my affaires and con- 

* In most documents older than 1700, and in not a few of later date, the character "y " 
represents the alphabet letters " th." 


cernements, so as to freile relieve, and disburden my Lands and esteat 
yrof, without the councill, advyce, and concurrence of some of my good 
freinds in whom I repose my trust. And lykeways understanding how 
easie I may be circumveined and deceived in the management of my 
affaires, by subtile and craftie persones, who have designes upon me, 
and may intyse me to the dilapidatione of my Lands, rents, goods, and 
geir, to my great hurt and prejudice ; And I being fully persuaded, 
and haveing good prooff and experience, off the love and kyndnes my 
noble and reale freinds, Archibald, Earle off Argyle, and John, Earle 
off Caithnes, have towards me, and for the standing of my familie, 
whose advyce and councill I now resolve to use, and be whom I am 
heirefter to be governed in all my affaires and business. Thairfor witt 
ye me to be bound and obleidged, Lykeas I, be thir pr ts , faithfully bind 
and obleidge me, noways to sell, annailzie, wad-set, dispone, dilapidat, 
nor putt away, non of my Lands, heretages, nor rents, tacks, haddings, 
possessiones, goods and geir, moveable and imoveable, to whatsom- 
ever persone or persones, nor to make noe privat nor publict disposi- 
tiones, resignationes, remunerationes, assignationes, translationes, dis- 
chairges, nor any oyr right yrof, nor of no pairt of the same, nor to 
make any contracts, bonds, obligationes, or oyr writts, qrby the same 
in haill or in pairt, may be wasted, apprysed, or adjudged ; nor con- 
tract debt, nor make * nor bargaines, nor doe any oyr fact nor 
deed anent the premises without the joint advyce, consent, and assent 
of my fsd noble and reale freinds, Archibald, Earle of Argyle, and 
John, Earle of Caithnes, and, in case of any of their deceases, with 
the consent of the surviver first hade and obtained yrt in writt. With- 
out whose consent as fsd, and in case of any of their deceases, with- 
out consent of the surviver, I shall doe nothing concerneing the pre- 
mises. Wheirin if I faillie, or doe in the contrarie, I doe heirby will 
and declaire, that all such deeds soe to be done be me shall be voyd 
and null in themselves, as if the same hade never bein made, and yt 
be way of escruptione or reply, without necessitie of any declarator to 
follow yrupone. And for the more securitie, I am content and consent 
thir pr ts be regrat in the books of Councill and Sessione, or any oyr 
books competent to have the streanth of ane dec 1 - of the Lords or 
Judges yrof underponed yrto that letters of publicatione and others 
necessar in forme as effeires may be direct theirupone ; and to that 

effect constitute my prcrs. In witnes qrof, I have sub 1 - thir 

pr ts . (written by Colin Campbell, procr in Edin r ) with my hand at 


witnesses James Currie and Sir William Binning, late Provest of 
Edin r - the fyft of (August) j m - vi c - and eightie-one yeires, befor thir 
Edin r - and Sir Patrick Threip-Land, late Provest of Perth, * * and 
witnes my hand, R. CAMPBELL, off Glenlyon. 

James Currie, Witnes. 

W. Binning, Witnes. 

P. Thriep-Land, Witnes." 

The month in the attesting clause is partly obliterated, 
but appears to be what is given above ; and, if so, it was 
exactly 24 days after Argyle's imprisonment. This is no 
cause for surprise. The Laird saw in his imprisonment 
nothing but a slight cloud, from which the chief would 
emerge with undimmed brightness. The astute Breadal- 
bane, who guaged to a nicety the plots and counterplots of 
those miserable days, perceived at a glance that all was over 
with the Earl ; for the Duke of York never forgave an 
affront, and the free-spoken and patriotic Argyle had 
affronted him deeply on the subject of the test. Breadal- 
bane, who had already broken off with the chief of the clan, 
was in high favour with the party in power, and within 
seven days after the above factory was signed the Parlia- 
ment settling, very favourably for him, the dispute between 
him and Sinclair of Keiss he exchanged the title of Caith- 
ness for that of Breadalbane and Holland. The Red Doug- 
lases succeeded the Black ; and when the star of Argyle 
was sinking, why should not that of Breadalbane arise ? 
Nothing hindered it certainly, but that the chieftains of the 
name had a very strong prejudice against rallying around 
any other banner but Macaileinmore's. His future deeds 
show clearly that Breadalbane aimed at succeeding to the in- 
fluence, if not to the property, of the Argyles, and the fore- 
going is just a specimen of the way he went about breaking 


in the chieftains to his will. The family of Glenlyon, more 
nearly related than almost any other, was traditionally 
hostile to his, and the present Laird, though in his meshes, 
was not uniformly docile ; at any rate, there was no harm 
in making assurance double sure ; and so the foregoing was 
one of the many moves in the game he played for the 
leadership of the clan. The Revolution, as it finally upset 
all his plans, taught Breadalbane that " the best laid schemes 
of mice and men gang oft ajee ; " but even after that, he 
showed he had not given up the darling hope of his life in 
despair. To relieve Glenlyon immediately was no part of 
Breadalbane's policy, which, to a great extent, might have 
been done by simply paying, what was his due, the bond of 
5000 pounds granted to him for the expedition to Caithness 
This was not done; indeed, it was not all paid up at the Earl's 
death in 1716. Glenlyon traditions go much farther than 
this in accusing the Earl ; but I have confined myself to 
what, as regards the facts, can be proved, for, much as he 
wished to make the Laird a useful and obedient dependent, 
I cannot see how, at this time at least, it would have sub- 
served Breadalbane's interest and he always looked to his 
interest to put an extinguisher on the family of Glenlyon ; 
and I am the more confirmed in this opinion, as he did the 
family at a later period, when they were too reduced to be 
feared, some acts of real kindness, and as the successor of 
Robert Campbell confided in him as his friend and patron. 
It is delightful to find that, when deserted by those who 
ought to have supported him, the M'Gregors repaid with 
grateful devotion the protection extended to their ancestors 
by Colin Gorach and his brave son. After more than a 
century of persecution and wrong by which the clan had 


been nearly extinguished, and lost all their possessions it 
was not to be expected that they could command much 

" But, doomed and devoted by vassal and lord, 
The McGregors had still both their heart and their sword." 

Their little hoard was heartily at Campbell's service, and 
he availed himself of it without scruple. The following, 
among others, at different periods between 1673 and 1700, 
advanced sums varying from 100 to 300 merks each, to the 
distressed family of Glenlyon viz., Duncan M'Gregor> 
corrector to the press, Savoy, London ; Duncan Menzies, 
late M'Gregor, Ardlarich, Rannoch ; Janet M'Gregor, In- 
nervar, Glenlyon ; Duncan Murray, late M'Gregor, Roro, 
Glenlyon ; Archibald M'Gregor, Ardlarich, Rannoch. The 
clan at this time was completely broken, without chief or 
chieftain, and, in the majority of cases, obliged to assume 
other names. The M'Gregors, unlike the other creditors, 
patiently waited for twenty or thirty years, till the Glen- 
lyon family could conveniently repay them, without having 
recourse to any legal coercion. 

Argyle condemned through a most shameless perver- 
sion of justice when preparations were made for his exe- 
cution, escaped from the Castle of Edinburgh, December, 
1 68 1, disguised as the page of his daughter-in-law, Sophia 
Lindsay. In passing the sentry at the gate, the Earl is 
said to have been so agitated as to let the lady's train drop 
in the mud, which she, with admirable presence of mind, 
snatching up, and scolding the pretended page as a care- 
less loun, threw it into his face, thereby besmearing his fea- 
tures beyond all recognition. During his exile in Holland 
was hatched that ill-assorted plan of descent upon Eng- 


land and Scotland which brought Argyle and Monmouth 
to the scaffold. Argyle arrived at Tobermory, in Mull, in 
May, 1685, and after a series of disasters, was taken pri- 
soner near Dumbarton, in June, and beheaded at Edin- 
burgh on the 26th of the same month, without the formality 
of a new trial. The fate of the chief as Breadalbane 
was either unable or unwilling to succour him left the 
Laird of Glenlyon without hope or refuge. His tenants 
were made aware of his difficulties. They laid their heads 
together, and, coming in a body, offered to give the Laird 
Leath-baich (half their byres), that is, the half of their cattle, 
for, from the earliest times downwards, cattle constituted 
the wealth of the Highlands. Campbell, justly proud of 
this splendid proof of attachment to his family, yet hesi- 
tated to accept their offer. He consulted his relative, 
Duncan Campbell, Roroyare, afterwards of Duneaves, who 
strongly advised him not to receive the gift, but rather sell 
a part of the property to pay the debts, and have the 
remainder free ; " for," says he, " take their cattle, and you 
are forever their slave ; you cannot claim an additional 
kain-hen without their concurrence." It may be added, in 
explanation, that originally the chiefs levied no regular 
rent, but were solely supported by the self-imposed and 
voluntary contributions agreed upon by the clansmen 
themselves, according to their opinion of the exigency of 
the need. The feudal charters that many of them had 
early obtained were calculated to strengthen against 
oppression from without, and also to arm them with powers 
to oppress within. The voluntary rate was called Calpa> 
while the feudal rent was named Kain. In 1685, feudal 
tenure was so little popular in Glenlyon, that the idea 


of a chieftain alienating his lands was scarcely understood, 
and leases were altogether unknown, each man succeeding 
to his father's holding, unmolested by the Laird as long as 
he paid the customary calpa and followed him in war; 
while the spirit of clanship was so strong as to dictate an 
offer like the preceding, for maintaining the standing of 
an ancient family. Robert finally decided upon not de- 
spoiling his tenants, and, consequently, upon selling the 
bulk of his property. But as he was jealous of the 
interested motives of some gentlemen of his own clan his 
friendly adviser and near relative especially he deter- 
mined no Campbell should succeed him. The whole estate 
of Glenlyon Chesthill and the other jointure lands of his 
wife excepted was privately sold to Lord Murray, Earl of 
Tullibardine, afterwards Duke of Athole. Soon after it 
became known that the glen was to be sold, the Laird was 
present at a deer-hunt in the Braes, when the deer, hard 
beset, took to the loch, which, as it is of no great extent, 
was immediately surrounded by keen sportsmen. It hap- 
pened, in the cross-firing which followed, that Robert had 
a very narrow escape from being killed by a stray ball. 
On telling his escape, when the men congregated after the 
hunt, an old retainer of the family sharply turned round, 
and asked, " Where did it strike ? " " Between my legs," 
replied the Laird. " Would to heaven," exclaimed the old 
man, " it had been between your loins, for then Glenlyon 
would not be sold." 

On the 1 4th March, 1689, the Convention of the Estates, 
called together by circular letters from the Prince of Orange, 
already acknowledged King of England, met at Edinburgh. 
Momentous events, big with the fate of Scotland, followed 


in rapid succession. Duke Gordon, at the instigation of 
Dundee, refuses to deliver up the Castle to the Convention ; 
the King's friends are outvoted, and Duke Hamilton 
chosen president ; William's letter is received, that of 
James read only under protest ; the royalists prepare to 
withdraw from the Convention, and to convene a counter 
meeting at Stirling ; Athole wavers ; Dundee's life is 
threatened, and he leaves Edinburgh and bursts into the 
North. Eluding the vigilance of Mackay, he makes Loch- 
aber his muster ground, and warns the Jacobites to assemble 
there in force on the i8th of May. In the interval, he 
comes himself to Athole, and confirms the Atholemen, pro- 
bably by the connivance of their marquis, in their allegiance 
to King James. He makes an irruption as far as Dundee, 
surprising Perth on the way, and nearly taking Dundee. 
Returning to the mustering place, he leads the clans 
into Athole, and fixes upon Strowan for his head-quarters. 
Mackay, baffled in the north, has returned to Edinburgh, 
and by his prudence and sagacity restored confidence to 
the alarmed Convention. Afraid of allowing Dundee 
time to recruit from all parts of the Highlands, and the 
disaffected districts of the Lowlands for which the central 
position of Athole afforded unusual facilities Mackay, 
with a hardihood that does him credit, determined to 
attack the foe in his mountain fastnesses. Marching from 
Perth with an army nearly double that of Dundee, he 
penetrated the Pass of Killiecrankie without opposition, 
but there a defeat awaited him such as seldom befel a 
general. The battle of Killiecrankie restored to James all 
beyond the Forth ; and, looking to the probabilities of the 
case, nothing could have saved the rest of Scotland from a 


similar fate, had not the levin-bolt been quenched in the 
blood of Dundee. Cannan, who succeeded him, was alto- 
gether unworthy of his position ; and, by the little trust the 
clans had in his abilities, and his own remissness allowed 
all the fruits of the victory to escape from his grasp. 

Among those who preserved a dubious neutrality while 
these things were taking place but who would undoubtedly 
have joined the royalists had Dundee outlived his victory 
was the Earl of Breadalbane. In a letter to the Laird ot 
M'Leod, dated Moy, June 23rd, 1689, Dundee says " I 
had almost forgot to tell you of my Lord Broadalbin, who, 
I suppose, will now come to the fields." But he was soon 
better informed ; for, in a letter to Lord Melfort, four days 
after, he says " Earl Breadalbin keeps close in a strong 
hous ; he has and pretends the gout." The difference in 
the spelling almost proves, that, in the interval, Dundee 
had received a written missive from the Earl, who had 
then commenced to spell his name as in the second letter, 
in preference to the older mode, previously used by Dundee. 
The truth is, Pale John , as he was called in the Highlands, 
did not wish to see the family of Argyle re-established by 
the Revolution, and his own expanding influence contracted 
thereby. He, therefore, desired well for the royalists, but 
was too wise a man to risk his all, until victory had irre- 
vocably chained success to their banners. After the death of 
Argyle in 1685, and the sale of the greater part of his own 
patrimony, which was nearly contemporaneous, the Laird 
of Glenlyon submitted to the chain his fathers had spurned, 
and became a most obedient dependent of Breadalbane ; 
and in this great national crisis especially identified himself 
with the latter's policy viz., like him, remained at home. 


Immediately after the battle of Killiecrankie, when neutrals 
and foes dreaded alike the depredations and vengeance of 
the victorious clans, the Laird obtained the following pro- 
tection from Cannan, the successor of Dundee, which, from 
motives of delicacy in allowing him to choose his own 
party, is granted in name of his wife, but is addressed " To 
the Laird of Glenlyon," and runs thus : 

"Thes are dischairging all, upon sight heirof, from troubling, 
molesting, wronging, or injurying the person of Helen Linsay, Lady 
Glenlyon, hir Bairnes, or servants, or annie goods or gear properlie 
belonging to hir self ; and whoever contravein, shall not only repair 
the damadge, bot shall be punised according to justice. Given under 
my hand at lochend, the second day off Agust, j m - vi c - and eightie- 
nein, H. W. CAN AN." 

Appended is a note from the Laird of M'Naughton : 

" Cussen I received yours, and have proquired this above-written 
protection, and what service I can doe you, or your familie, shall not be 
omitted by him who is your most affectionate Cussen & Servant, 


" Pray haste to the stander with all your men." 

We shall see hereafter how far this protection availed for 
the purpose for which it was granted. 


WHEN Dundee fled from the Convention, "Coll 
of the Cows," the head of the M'Donalds of Kep- 
poch, was pursuing with relentless fury the broken host of 
the Mackintoshes, his ancient foes, and was, on the arrival 
of the Viscount in the north, threatening to sack Inverness. 
On receiving a large sum of money from the town, as com- 
pensation for alleged injuries, Coll and the citizens were re- 
conciled through the intervention of Dundee, and both joined 
in supportingthejacobite interest. An attemptwas made to 
include the Mackintoshes in the general reconciliation, but 
Coll rated his friendship at such a high value as to render 
the attempt abortive. The Keppoch Chieftain was so en- 
raged at the refractory spirit of Mackintosh, that, with the 
forced connivance of the high-souled Graham, he drove away 
all his cattle, most of which were kept among his own retainers. 
When Coll took such liberty under the eye of an energetic 
general, whose dearest plans were thereby put in peril, how 
could he be controlled by the weak, unpopular Cannan ? 
Soon after the battle of Killiecrankie, several of the clans 
left the white standard to go to their several homes with 
the spoils gathered during the campaign. Coll of Keppoch 
left with his own men, and the M'lans of Glencoe, his con- 
federates, in October. Determined to gather their winter 
mart in going home, and aware they could not do so with 
any propriety or hope of success in the land of the Robert- 


sons, who had fought with them under Dundee, they came 
round by Glenlyon, and gratified their love of plunder and 
their inveterate hatred to the Campbells, by harrying the 
little property still possessed by the poor Laird of Glenlyon. 
The Laird was completely off his guard ; relying on Can- 
nan's protection, the raid of Keppoch was the very last thing 
he feared. No opposition was offered to the marauders. 
The women and cattle were just home from the sheilings, 
and the men were peaceably engaged in getting in the last 
of the harvest. No sign preceded the storm. The rapacity 
of the M'Donalds was unexampled. In one of the huts 
they found an infant in a basket cradle, wrapt in a 
blanket. The child was turned out naked on the clay floor, 
and the blanket taken away. One of the Glenlyon men at 
the massacre of Glencoe perhaps, except the Laird, the 
only man of them there as he was slaughtering one of the 
M'lans with the sword, used, it is said, at each successive 
thrust, the expressions of savage revenge " There for 
Catherine's blanket ! " " There for Colin's cows ! " Colin 
was the brother of the Laird. Cambuslay, one of the Brae 
farms, was the portion allotted him by his father, and, as 
it lay conveniently in the way of the M'Donalds, they swept 
it clean. This was not the first time that Colin's cows were 
" lifted " by the M'Donalds of Glencoe and Lochaber. 
Robert of Glenlyon and his brother Colin were minors in 
1644-45, when Montrose ravaged and burned Breadalbane 
and all the other lands of their maternal grandfather, Sir 
Robert Campbell of Glenorchy. The uncle of the boys, 
John Tutor of Glenlyon, who afterwards bought the estate 
of Duneaves, and founded a family there, was their legal 
guardian ; but they lived mostly with their mother and her 


second husband, Patrick Roy M'Gregor, the landless chief 
of his clan, at Meggernie Castle, during their minority. 
Now Patrick Roy, with a thousand of his clan, joined Mon- 
trose ; and so Montrose spared Glenlyon when he despoiled 
and burned Breadalbane. But the confederate robbers of 
Glencoe and Keppoch or a small band of them at least 
violated the orders of Montrose, and swept away the cows 
of young Colin, and some also belonging to John the Tutor, 
which were grazing on Colin's lands. The " banarach 
bheag," or little dairy-maid, Kic Cree, or M'Cree, who had 
charge of the calves, hid them in the rath of Cambuslay, 
and secretly followed the robbers to Glenmeuran with the 
double intention of recovering the cows and calling out the 
country. The poor girl was discovered and killed by the 
robbers. They had got hold of the chief dairy-maid, or 
" banarach mhor " at first, and taken her captive with them 
along with the cows. In her captivity this famed but 
nameless poetess composed the beautiful song, or lullaby, 
of Crodh Chailein, or " Colin's Cows," which has ever since 
been used as a charm to make fractious cows give their 
milk, and soothe crying babes to sleep. The little dairy- 
maid must have succeeded before being killed in sending 
back information about the robbers and their trail, for it 
seems they were pursued, and most, if not all, of the cattle 
recovered before they could be got into the Glencoe 
" Thieves' Corrie," Very probably, the clan M'Gregor who 
owed much to the family of Glenlyon, and whose chief was, 
at this time, restored to position and fair affluence by his 
marriage with the well-dowered widow of Archibald Camp- 
bell, younger of Glenlyon, helped to hunt down the thieves 
and to recover Colin's cattle. But the raid, although unsuc- 


cessful, was a breach of faith under trust, and it swelled the 
already long list of grievous injuries suffered by Glenlyon 
at the hands of the M'Donalds of Glencoe and their kins- 
men of Lochaber. Whenever Glenlyon cattle were " lifted " 
they were first, unless re-captured on the way, driven to 
Glencoe, where they were kept until they could be safely 
distributed among the confederates. There was, therefore, 
a feud of centuries between the two glens. The modern 
historians of the massacre of Glencoe aggravate Robert of 
Glenlyon's guilt by laying stress on the fact that Alexander, 
the son of M'lan, was married to his niece. The blackest 
part of the whole business was the treachery planned by 
the Government, of which Glenlyon had no notice until the 
last moment. But as to the matrimonial relationship, it 
was thus the matter stood : Jean Campbell, daughter of 
Sir Robert Campbell of Glenorchy, married when very 
young, Archibald, the heir of Glenlyon, and was left a 
widow with two sons, Robert and Colin, when about twenty- 
five years old. Shortly afterwards, she married Patrick 
Roy M'Gregor, to whom she bore two sons and two 
daughters. After Patrick's death, she married Stewart of 
Appin, and by him had children also. It was to the Appin 
family of Glenlyon's mother that Alexander's wife belonged. 
The much married lady lived long, and the heavy settlements 
made upon her by her first husband and his father, along 
with the spend-thrift habits of her son Robert, ruined sadly 
the, till then, fairly flourishing Campbells of Glenlyon. 

The "creach" of 1689 was not recovered like that of 1645. 
The cattle and the spoils were safely got to Glencoe, and 
there divided. The following is the list of goods and gear 
of which Glenlyon and his tenants were robbed on this occa- 


sion. It is interesting on many accounts, and of especial 
importance to the historian of the Glencoe massacre : 

Ane List of the hail Goods and Gear taken away from the Laird off 
Glenlyon, and the Tenants underwritten, out of Chesthill and 
Balentyre, and Carnbane Little and Meikle, about the latter end 
of October, 1689, by Coill M'Donald of Keppoch and his 
Associates : 
Chesthill. Lib. Sol. D. 

Impr. spulzied and taken out of Chesthill, belonging to 
the Laird of Glenlyon, sex great English Meares, 
Estimatt to Twelve punds sterling each, and in Scots 
money Thirfore, ... ... ... ... 864 o o 

Item, ane Brown Staig of three yeirs old, the sd. Brute 
estimatt to ... ... ... ... ... 200 o o 

Item, ane young Meare, and the pryse of same Brute, 
inde ... ... ... ... ... ... 106 13 4 

Item, three pleuch horses, worth fourty punds the piece, 
inde ... ... ... ... ... ... 120 o o 

Item, taken away of great Cowes, Three-scoir twelve, 
and fyftein three-yeir-old Cowes, and seventein two- 
yeir-olds, the Three-scior and twelve great Cowes 
and the fyftein three-yeir-old estimatt to twentie 
merks the piece, and the seventein two-yeir-old 
estimatt to . . the piece, inde ... ... 1,160 o o 

Item taken away the sd. time, Eight-scoir and nyn 
sheep, estimatt to Two punds 6 sh. 8d. the piece, all 
great ... ... ... 394 6 8 

Item, Ten goats @ Twa punds the piece, inde ... 20 .o o 

Item, Taken away out of the kitchen, several household 
plenishing, such as rack speitts, pleats, trenchers, 
and candlesticks, and uydr things, estimatt to ... 40 o o 

2,905 o o 
Crofts of Chesthill. 

Item, taken away from John Macindui, yr. nyn great 
Cowes, ffy ve two-yeir-olds, and Two stirks the nyn 
Cowes, ffyve two-yeir-olds, and Two stirks, to these 
their worth twentie merks the piece, inde ... 266 13 4 

Item, Threescoir and three head of great sheep and 


Lib. Sol. D. 

eighteen hogs, the great sheep at 40 sh. the head, 

and the hogs at 20 sh. the head, inde ... ... 144 o o 

Item, twenty-seven old goatts and 29 yeir-old goatts 

estimatt over head to three merks the piece, inde ... 82 o o 
Item, ffour peir horses and mears, with their followers, 

estimatt to ffourty merks the peir ... ... 106 13 9 

Item, Two ffilies, two-yeir-old, the peire estimatt to 

twentie pund the piece ... ... ... 40 o o 

Item, household plenishing, worth ffyftie merks ... 33 6 8 

672 13 9 

Item taken from Duncan Cleroch, cotter their, nyn 
cowes, great and small, estimatt over head twenty 

merks the piece, inde ... ... ... ... 146 13 9 

Item, ffyftie head of sheep estimatt to 40 sh. the piece 100 o o 

Item, nyntein goatts, worth three merks the piece ... 38 o o 

Item, ane horse, worth ... ... ... ... 12 o o 

296 13 9 

Item, ffrom John Macilandrust, cotter in Chesthill, 

Threttein sheep @ three merks the piece,... ... 26 o o 

Threttein goats at lyke pryce, ... ... ... 26 o o 

Item, ane horse and ane mear, their worth ... ... 26 13 4 

78 13 4 

Item, ffrom John Macindui, croftsman, Chesthill, Two 
pleuch horses, worth 20 pund Scots the piece, ... 40 o o 

Item, ffrom him Twa Cowes, worth 25 merks the 
Piece, 33 6 8 

Item, nyntein head off sheep ffrom his sone, and ffourty 
from himself, @ 40 sh. the piece, inde ... ... 118 o o 

Item, spulzied plenishing, worth ... ... ... 136 8 

204 13 4 

Item, ffrom John Macalyster, in Chesthill, ffourty-two 
head off sheep and goats, @ 40 sh. the piece, inde 84 o o 

And from Margaret Macanrue, now his spouse, three 
heads of cowes, at 25 merks .... the pryce, 50 o o 


Lib. Sol. D. 

And Threttie-seven head of sheep @ forsd. pryce, ... 74 o o 
Item, Ten punds worth of plenishing, ... ... 10 o o 

218 o o 

Item, taken from Donald M'Gore, ffour Cowes esti- 

matt @ Twentie merks the head, ... ... 53 6 8 

Item, ffourty-three sheep, at 40 sh. the piece, ... 86 o o 

Item, off spulzied plenishing, worth ... ... 20 o o 

159 6 8 

Item, ffrom John M'Laren, then in Balentyre, now in 
Chesthill, threttie-seven head of sheep at the above 
pryce, ... ... ... ... 74 o o 

Item, seventein goatts, at Twa merks and ane half the 
piece, ... ... ... ... ... 28 6 8 

Item, ane mear, estimatt to ... ... ... 968 

Item, of spulzied plenishing, worth ... ... 6 13 o 

118 6 8 

Item, from Margaret Nicdermid, ffyve cowes, great and 
small, worth 20 merks the piece, inde ... ... 66 13 9 

Item, Twa-yeir horse and ane mear, worth tvventie 
punds the piece, ... ... ... ... 40 o o 

Item, Three-scoir head and three of sheep, @ 40 sh. 
the piece, 

Item, of spulzied plenishing, worth 

242 13 9 

Carnbane More. 

Item, from Patrick Macarthur, then in Carnbane, now 
in Chesthill, sex cowes and ane Bull, at fforsd. 

pryce, ... ... 93 6 8 

Item, Twentie-ffour head off greatt sheep, at three 

merks and ane half the piece, ... ... ... 56 o o 

Item, Eightein goatts at the lyke pryce, ... ... 30 o o 

Item, ane horse, worth ... ... ... ... 30 o o 

209 6 8 


Lib. Sol. D. 
Item, ffrom John Ogilvie, then in Carnbane, now in 

Chesthill, ffour Covves, worth twentie merks the piece. 536 8 
Item, ffourty head of great sheep, ... ... ... So o o 

Item, ane sword worth ten merks, and a plaid worth 

ten merks, ... ... ... 1868 

I5i 13 4 

Item, spulzied and away taken about the fforsd, tyme 

ffrom Coline Campbell, broyr to the Laird off Glen- 

lyon, Be Ronnald M'Donald, broyr to Keppoch, and 

Keppoch his kindred : 

Impr. Three pleuch horses, qrof two off them at 33 Lib. 

6s. 8d. the piece, and the oyr at 20 Lib. inde ... 86 13 4 
Item, three meares, with their followers, worth ... 100 o o 
Item, sex Cows worth 25 merks the piece ... ... 100 o o 

Item, ffrom the sd. Coline his subtennents, ffourscoir 

Cowes, great and small, at Twentie merks over head 1,160 o o 
Item, ffrom the sd. tennents 335 sheep, ... ... 670 o o 

Item, from the sd. tennents, of armour, worth 66 Lib. 

133. 4d. and of spulzied plenishing 100 Lib. inde ... 166 13 4 

Sume of Lose, ... ... ...2,283 6 8 


Item, spulzied and away taken from the 4 tennents ot 
Galline, ffytie head of Cowes, worth twentie merks 
the piece, inde ... ... ... ... 833 6 

833 6 8 

Gallin for whatever reason it is entered in this list, did 
not at this time belong to Campbell, but was part of the 
property sold to Lord Murray. I do not see how Gallin was 
spulzied and the rest of Lord Murray's lands spared, as it is 
known was the case. I believe, therefore, the last item 
refers to some other foray, which took place before the 
estate was sold, and that it was entered at the foot of the 
more recent claim, as the only desperate chance of obtain- 


ing satisfaction. In 1695 an action at civil law was com- 
menced against Coll of Keppoch by the Lady Glenlyon in 
the absence of her husband, but I believe a long bill of 
costs against her was the only result ; for, though a verdict 
was easily obtained, " Coll of the Cows," was not the man 
to obey implicitly the decree of a judge. Excluding 
Gallin from the list, the other farms were held by Campbell 
in right of his wife, whose jointure they were, and they 
formed the whole of his possessions in Glenlyon. The 
foray left the laird and his tenants on the brink of starva- 
tion. And that would have been undoubtedly their fate 
next year, as, for want of horses, most of the land lay un- 
tilled, had not the laird's son-in-law, Alexander Campbell 
of Ardeonaig, stretched his credit with the Laird of Ochter- 
tyre, from whom he procured meal and grain for Campbell 
and his dependents. Any one, by running his eye over the 
foregoing list, will understand at once the thorough way in 
which the Highland robbers swept a glen. Here, at one fell 
swoop, a poor landlord and his few dependents lose their 
whole stock all they had in the world 36 horses, 240 cows, 
993 sheep, 133 goats, and whatever was portable of their little 
household furniture. The money value was estimated at 
7,540 175. i id. Scots money, which was a large sum 
indeed in those days. Campbell, driven in his old age 
he bordered on 60 to earn his daily bread, resumed his 
sword and became a soldier of the Revolution. Early in the 
year 1690, he obtained a company in the Earl of Argyle's 
Regiment of Foot. 


THE first glance we have of Robert Campbell, as the 
soldier of King William, is obtained from the 
following letter, addressed " ffor the Laird of Glenlyon, one 
of the Captains of the Earle of Argyle's Regiment, present 
Commandant at Drunnolich, for their Maties. Servce." 

Loving Coussine. I receaved yours, and as to what my unkle says 
anent his Boats, you may wreitt too him and tell him, that I would 
follow his Inclinations in it ; but I have a certain use for the Boats 
before wee open the campaigne, which I shall satisfie him of at 
metting. I shall need no Boats, but such as can goe the length of Inder- 
lochie. He knows I am lazie to wreitt, so will excuse my not wreitting 
too him. I desyre to have my battalion your lenth on Tuesday ; you 
would contryve how my Regiment may be Quartered as near Drun- 
nolich as possible, in Barns or otherwyse. I am, you Loving 

* * * * CAMPBELL. 
Inverary, September 28th, 1690. 

The name is unfortunately effaced, and I have no means 
of ascertaining who was the writer. Campbell spent the 
next two years with his regiment in Argyleshire, without 
being engaged in any particular service. His wife and 
family at home were struggling against the severest 
poverty. After their lands had been harried by the 
M'Donalds, it was impossible for them, for want of means, 
to re-stock them immediately. The meal obtained from 
Sir Patrick Murray to keep the wolf hunger from the 
door, when the term came, could not be paid. Letters of 


outlawry were issued against Campbell ; but what could 
be done ? " It was ill to tak his breeks off a Hielandman." 
Robert could not pay, and there should be an end of it ; 
but necessity has no laws ; another supply of meal must 
be procured or the family must starve. Lord Breadalbane 
owed Robert money, but at this, his hardest pinch, did not 
or could not pay him. I suspect the latter ; for now that 
the family were too reduced to be feared, and their 
lands had passed into other hands, he favoured and sup- 
ported them as a matter of policy. Robert's son-in-law, 
Alexander Campbell of Ardeonaig, paid Sir Patrick, and 
the necessary supply was obtained. To Ardeonaig was 
assigned the bond on Lord Breadalbane, the only realisable 
source of means in poor Glenlyon's possession. After care- 
fully investigating the accumulating miseries entailed upon 
his family by the raids of the McDonalds the proofs of 
which I hold in my hands I can almost understand the stern 
joy with which Glenlyon carried out the outrageous behests 
of his Sovereign, and slaughtered, without remorse, men 
who had treacherously violated the protection of their 
commander-in-chief, to plunder the lands of an in- 
offensive man. 

The M'lans, as hardened and habitual robbers, according 
to the criminal code of that age, probably deserved, every 
one of them that was above twelve years of age, the punish- 
ment of the gallows. But at the Revolution, the executive 
was not strong enough to vindicate and protect the life 
and property of the subject, except through voluntary 
obedience, beyond the Highland barrier. The Campbells 
were the first to graft ideas of law and order upon the 
uncongenial stock of clanship. By consummate tact the 


celebrated Marquis of Argyle had, through the influence 
of religion, gradually habituated his followers to the new 
order of things. The Clan Campbell, retaining all their 
hereditary affection for their chief, and consolidating, by their 
implicit obedience, his immense power in the council of the 
State and even over the fate of Scotland, were the first to 
take upon them the feudal yoke, and from being companions 
and equals to sink into the vassals of M'Cailein More. 
In the strict administration of justice between man and man, 
in the absolute security of life and property, and in the vigor- 
ous and impartial rule of the Marquis, they reaped the full 
reward of what the other Highlanders called their mean- 
spiritedness. The change in Argyle was rather in the 
morals of the people than in their civil condition. The 
Marquis was a paragon of a landlord, and his immediate 
successors never extended their feudal rights to the matter of 
rent and cain, which were allowed to remain on the old clan 
footing. Nevertheless, the Marquis, by fostering the 
change in the morals and habits of thinking prevalent 
among the clans, did ipso Jacto, become the Corypheus of 
obedience to the law in the Highlands, and concomitantly 
also of the race of absolute landlords, who, through the 
agency of a single factor, could sweep a glen in one 
day of 100 stalwart warriors. In introducing changes we 
are generally alive only to the immediate benefits which 
they promise, and leave time to discover their shortcomings 
and positive evils. The country of the Campbells, through the 
changes brought about by the Marquis, exhibited a picture 
of peacefulness and civilisation, which formed a strong con- 
trast to the rest of the Highlands. The strange appearance of 
the strongest of the clans settling disputes according to law, 


and yielding due obedience to the king's writ, arrested the at- 
tention of statesmen, and stimulated them to strong efforts to 
extend, through the same means, over the whole Highlands, 
the power of the executive. As the Campbells were at the 
head of the new party of progress, the M'Donalds stood 
forward pre-eminently as the champions of clanship. At 
the era of the Revolution, Coll of Keppoch and M'lan of 
Glencoe vindicated the right of waging private war, and of 
living by the systematic plunder of the sword as freely as 
any of their ancestors of the Isles had done hundreds of 
years before. The neighbouring clans had to keep watch 
and ward against the marauders, and the exercise of arms 
necessarily kept alive the spirit of warfare, and retarded 
the progress of civilisation among the Campbells them- 
selves ; for a government too weak to protect from violence, 
and allowing men to shift for themselves, necessarily breeds 
contempt amongst the best disposed ; and, when its orders 
run counter to their wills, rouse them to opposition and 
rebellion. The King's garrison of Inverlochie bridled the 
more open country of Keppoch, but M'lan carried on, with 
as much impunity and openness as ever, the trade of cattle- 
lifting. Once in Glencoe it was impossible to recover the 
prey. Let any number of men be sent against them, his 
gillies guarded the narrow passes ; at the preconcerted 
signal the cattle and people removed to the rocky fastnesses 
which a few men could hold against an army. The foe 
had nothing to wreak his vengeance upon but a few turf- 
built huts, as easily rebuilt as they were cast down. 
William and Dalrmyple set their seals to the doom of 
Glencoe, but not because M'lan had failed in obtempering 
the letter of the law regarding the oath of allegiance not 


because the M'lans were rebels but because they were the 
last to adhere to the unmodified principles of clanship, to 
the idea of kingdoms within a kingdom, of the right of a 
private man, or a section of private men, to exercise hatred, 
rapine, and war, uncontrolled by the central government ; 
because, though a puny tribe as to numbers, the physical 
character of their country made them able to keep thirty 
thousand men, from the dread of their excursions, with 
arms perpetually in their hands ; because this thwarted 
the plans of progress represented by the Campbells, and 
cherished by the king, and subjected the revolutionary govern- 
ment to the laughter of scorn amidst a warlike and dis- 
affected race, by showing its threatenings could be braved 
with impunity, and that it was not able to afford the safety 
to property and life, the promise of which formed the 
charter of its existence. If the odium caused by the 
treacherous slaughter of beguiled men was so great as 
for a time to endanger the safety of the throne, still it was 
the means of making the Highlanders perceive the necessity 
of yielding obedience to the law, and it put an effectual 
stop to cattle-lifting on a grand scale. M'lan of Glencoe 
was the last Katheran chief. The terrors of the law pre- 
vailed over the love of plunder, and shortly the thing, 
formerly considered a mark of bravery, sank into the cata- 
logue of mean and disreputable sins. The talents of Rob 
Roy, the last Katheran, failed to make the profession what 
it was in the days of Keppoch ; and when Rob died there 
was no one to take up his mantle, for cattle-lifting had 
degenerated into common thieving. It cannot be said, 
therefore, the massacre of Glencoe failed in the results 
expected by Government. Dalrymple might plausibly 


enough justify to himself the horrible cruelty of the means, 
by the importance of the results to the well-being of society, 
ten times better after the massacre than before its commis- 
sion. But there was one man engaged in the affair who, 
though concealed, was chief actor that had every reason 
to be displeased with the result, and that was Breadalbane. 
He had made himself extremely active on the side of 
William at the conclusion of the war in 1691. The King 
placed 15,000 at his disposal to bring the Jacobite chiefs 
to reason. He held a meeting of them at Achalader, in the 
Braes of Glenorchy, on the 3Oth June, 1691. M'lan at- 
tended this meeting, and quarrelled with the Earl about 
the reparation which the latter demanded from him, for 
having plundered his lands. M'lan denounced the treach- 
erous character of the Earl to the other chiefs, and was 
the principal cause of making the negotiations come to 
nothing. Further, he threatened to expose his conduct to 
Government, and show, that, though he was Willie's man 
in Edinburgh, he was Jamie's in the Highlands. The 
charge was well founded enough, as subsequent events 
show, though Breadalbane sheltered himself for the time 
under the permission of the King authorising him to act 
this double part. In addition to the new insult, the more 
intolerable to the Earl because he felt it was merited, 
the M'lans had been, with the other M'Donald's, harrying 
Breadalbane when the battle of Stronclachan was fought, 
in which the Earl lost eighteen of his nearest kinsmen. 
Besides, the position of Glencoe rendered the M'lans a 
perpetual thorn in his side. If he hoped for success in 
the complicated intrigues in which he was about to engage, 
for bringing about another revolution, and making him- 


self what he always aspired to be, the head of the Campbells 
and the chief man in the North, he saw it more necessary 
than ever to get rid of the MTans. The " mauling scheme " 
of the Earl, to which Dalrymple alludes, without describing 
it, must have been the one at last substantially adopted. 
The time, the manner, and the agents could have been 
chosen only by a man intimately acquainted with Glencoe, 
and the nature and habits of its people, and also aware of 
the mortal hatred existing between the M'lans and Camp- 
bell of Glenlyon a man determined, moreover, that the 
" old fox, nor any of his cubs, should not escape " and 
such a man in every particular was Breadalbane. Instead 
of 200, the whole male population of the Glen, but between 
30 and 40 were killed. The old intriguer foresaw the 
storm which would arise, and dreaded it, if many of the 
witnesses lived. A few days after the massacre, a person 
waited upon Glencoe's sons, and stated, he had been sent 
by Campbell of Barracalden, the Earl's Chamberlain, and 
that he was authorised to say, that, if they would declare, 
under their hands, that Breadalbane had no concern in the 
slaughter, he would procure their remission and restitution. 
He escaped adroitly enough through the after proceedings, 
as he managed that Campbell of Glenlyon should never stand 
his trial. But under what mortal fear must he have made 
the promise of " remission and restitution " with his revenge 
but half-gratified, and the possession of Glencoe, which he 
longed to acquire, slipping for ever from his grasp ? As 
to Glenlyon, his own contemporaries accused him not of 
his cruelty in the execution of inhuman orders, but of the 
few hours of treachery which preceded the massacre 

" For he smiled as a friend, while he planned as a foe 
To redden each hearthstone in misty Glencoe." 


The Glencoe bard himself does not go farther, as if con- 
scious that had he not violated his plighted word, and 
murdered men under trust, Campbell had received such pro 
vocation from the M'Donalds as justified the most unlimited 
revenge on his part. 

The Scottish Parliament met in 1695, when King 
William found it expedient to yield to public indignation, 
and a commission to examine into the affair was granted 
upon the 29th of April. A few days after, Captain Campbell 
received orders to join his regiment in Flanders. Bread- 
albane obtained the necessary funds 400 merks for his 
outfit, from Mr. Alexander Comrie, minister of Inchadin. 
The other officers engaged in the massacre were already in 
Flanders. Campbell's evidence appears to have been 
peculiarly dreaded by the Earl, and had he been examined 
perhaps history would not be now so hard on the character 
of Dalrymple, and at any rate the intrigues of Breadalbane, 
if revealed, would have astonished William himself, and 
shown him that even he could be outwitted. From the 
anxiety of the Commissioners to screen William, their 
labours ended in smoke, and the M'Donalds and the country 
had not the revenge they wanted. The recommendation of 
the Parliament to order home Campbell of Glenlyon, Cap- 
tain Drummond, Lieutenant Lindsay(a relation of Glenlyon J s 
wife), Ensign Lundy, and Sergeant Barber, the chief actors, 
in order to their being prosecuted according to law, was 
never carried into effect. Campbell probably was never 
made aware of the result of the Commission. He died at 
Bruges in West Flanders, on the 2nd day of August, 1696. I 
subjoin an extract from the paymaster's accounts in which 
his funeral expenses are given. 


To the V- & Ensign's pay from 17 June to n Aug. 1696, 

being two months, at 93. 16 p. mo. ... ... ...^187 12 o 

To 400 boats from the 14 July to ii Aug. ... ... 112 9 o 

To the Judge Advocate for two months ... ... 240 

To the Doctor and paym r - ... ... ... ... 12 o o 

To the hoboyes ... ... ... ... ... 20 8 o 

To on man to the Coll. ... ... ... ... 14 o o 

To Gent Hospital to 1 1 Aug. ... ... ... 25 15 o 

To Brudges Hospital ... ... ... ... 2 12 o 

To the Capts. Clothes in full ... ... ... ... 2914 o 

To laid out on the Cap ts - funeral expense 
for linining and several oyr necessaryes 

taken by the Major's Lady ... --.^131 18 o 
To laid out in the house where he dyed, 

paid before Captain Fonab ... ... 127 10 o 

To laid out at Brudges, where he was 

buried, as per particular acct. ... ... 142 1 6 o 

402 14 o ^402 14 o 

Campbell of Glenlyon was, at his death, in the sixty-fifth 
year of his age. His early education had been good. He 
was a man of polished and plausible manners, and had 
mixed in early life in the best society. Like other men 
who have left a name joined to cruel deeds, his personal 
appearance was extremely prepossessing. Tall, well-built, 
with a profusion of curling fair hair, and a face of almost 
feminine delicacy, he was in youth a very Adonis. Left a 
minor with a large but burdened property, and shut out from 
active pursuits by the stern rule of Cromwell, he early gave 
the rein to selfish pleasures, a course in which he was 
confirmed by the gaieties which followed the Restoration. 
His greatest vices were gambling and the love of 
display, to which in later days he added an excessive 
love of wine. In another age he might have been a 


great warrior chief; for, though devoid of chivalrous 
generosity, he had all the martial talents of his warlike 
family ; and the man who could resolve at sixty to re- 
pair his fortune by the sword, could be reasonably 
expected to have been able to achieve his purpose thirty 
years earlier. 


ROBERT had disposed of the extensive feus he held 
in Lorn to the Earl of Breadalbane about 1663. 
The noble property of Glenlyon fell into the hands of 
Lord Murray in 1684. The only part of the once large 
estate remaining in possession of the family at his death 
were the jointure lands of his wife, and the small property 
of Kilmorich, which had been so settled that he could 
not touch it. His extravagance had created many debts, 
which were pressing with severity upon his family. But 
notwithstanding the hopelessness of the attempt, the first 
thought of his son was, how he could recover his father's 
inheritance. Iain Buidhe (yellow-haired John) was twenty 
years of age when his father died in Flanders. The follow- 
ing letter, written immediately on receipt of the news of 
his father's death, explains his position and views : 

29th October, 1696. 

May it please your Lordship Being in Caithness when I heard of 
my father Glenlyon's death, I made all the heast I could to returne 
to wait upon your Lordship, to represent the case of the Earle of 
Tullibardine's claim upon my father's Estate. But comeing home, I 
understood that your Lordship was gone to London, qich oblidges me 
to give you this trouble, humblie begging your Lordship's protectione 
in that matter, to prevent the ruine of my father's familie, which the 
best Lawiers in the Kingdome, and particular-lie my Lord Advocate, 
are of opinione may be yet done, if my friends owne me. In regarde 
that any right of the Earle of Tulliebardine has is but of the nature of 
a wadsett, redeimable on payment of the soume therein contained, 
which is farr within the treu value of the Estate. And seeing my 


own uncles and cusin-germans are able and willing instantly to ad- 
vance all the money that the Earle of Tullibardine pretends to, for 
relieving the Estate to my behoof, I humblie entreat your Lordship 
(seeing you are now on the place) to speak to my Lord Tullibardine 
in my behalf, to sie if he will accept of his money in a friendly manner 
without putting me and my relations to any further expenses. Which 
is well known we are not able to undergoe, being reduced to grate 
extremities by the wayes and methodes which were takine to turne us 
out of all we had. Oranent I earnestlie entreat your Lordship may be 
pleased to gett the Earle of Tullibardine's positive answer imediately. 
Because the present circumstances of the affaire will not admitt of 
any delay. In regaird if he refuse, I most prosequtt the legall part 
before my minority expyre, which is now neir elapst. And besyds I 
may come to lose the present opportunity that offers, by my uncles and 
cusin-germans being willing to advance the money, whereby my 
father's familie may yett be preserved in the name. For they will 
accept of repayment from me of the prin 11 - soume in such moyties as I 
please, and give me a perpetual reversion and present possessione of 
the superplus more than satisffies their current annualrents. I 
humbly beg your Lordship's answer, that I may be determined in 
time how to proceed. The beginning of the winter sessione being 
that there are processes then, hinc inde, depending. And as your 
Lordship's appeiring for me will doe me a grate deall of honour, so it 
will certainly preserve a familie who have been upon all occations 
servisable to your Lordship's most noble predecessors, whose futt- 
stapes therein I resolve to follow, and ever to conteinow. May it 
please your Lordship, your Lordship's most obedient and most humble 
servant. JOHN CAMPBELL. 

For the Earle of Breadalbane. 

The answer to the foregoing earnest and humble appeal 
came not from the Earl but from his lawyer, Colin Campbell : 

Edin f . 2. Feb. 1697. 

Sir You will see by the enclosed what returne the Earl of Tulli- 
bardine hath given to your Letter, and of David Campbell, Advocate, 
yranent who is very friendly. Yr. friends yen cane expect nothing 
but the rigour of the Law that way, fTor the Earl's Advocates are in- 
sisting in ther old process, to have the restitutione made voyd. But I 
judge their will nott be muche done this sessione. Iff your comeing over 
be necessary (which I think it will nott this Sessione) I sail accquaint 


you in dew tyme. My Lord Marquess Advocats are postponeing 
your Mother's business, with delays as much as they cane. And 
would faine restrict her joyntur if they cane. They have som pappers, 
they say, to produce, under her own hand, that will restrict her right 
upon Killmorich. We cane make nothing till we see you. They are 
to be produced to-morrow. Ther sail be noe indeavors wanting to 
bring it to a Decreit this Sessione. I am, Sir. your Coussen to serve 
you, C. C. 

ffor the Laird of Glenlyon. 

The next is from the Earl. It is quite characteristic of 
the man. The issue, and the person into whose possession 
these lands ultimately came, throw a doubt upon his pro- 
fessions of friendship, and make it probable that in this, as 
in every other act of his life, he used double-dealing. We 
shall hear more about the matter in another paper : 

ffinlarig, 12 Jully. 1697. 

COSSEN I have just now red yours of the tenth. I know not how 
it came to be soe long on the way. Coline Ramsay did last week 
informe at Edin r - that you were ther, and that all your desyre of 
recovering your esteat wood doe. I know not who made him soe wise 
but it oblidged me to send yesterday an expresse to Edin r - to assure 
them of the contrarie. The same endeavours are used w*- you to 
persuade you of my remisnes, but I'll put the contrary under my hand. 
My sone Glenurchay is just now come here, and hes spoake to the 
E. of T. thoroughly of your affaire, as alsoe w*- the E. of A. & my 
L. A. C. ; and q*- hes past betwixt them oblidges me to call you & 
yr. friends here to-morrow morning ; In order to put an end to all thats 
to be done in your affaire at this time. And that from this ye may goe 
to Edin r -. Two that effect I have written to Duneaves to advance 
you money, and I shall reimbruse him, and alsoe to come here w 4 - you. 
My sone tells me, that my Lord Tulliebardine says ye agreed w fc - him 
at Hungtingtower, that Duneaves & the rest of the undertakers were 
to goe w l - you to Edin r to him, qch I understood not to be soe. 
However, I shall write for the rest to meet you here to-morrow. I 
wish ye wold persuade yr cossen to come provided to goe alongst 
wt you if found needfull qn we meet. In caise it be not, I shall be 
als unwilling that any person should goe, as they can be themselves, 


if it can be done wtout them. Soe expecting you soe early as may be, 
for I had stopt my jurney for yr coming, I remain, yr affectionate 
Cossen to serve you, BREADALBANE. 

ffor the Laird of Glenlyon. 

The bearing of the whole question, as well as the upshot, 
are best learned from a lawyer's opinion obtained by Glen- 
lyon a few years afterwards in reference to the claims of 
his father's creditors : " The deceast Marquess of Athole 
haveing unquestionable rights to the estate of Glenlyon by 
expyred compreisings in his person : He enters in contract 
wt the deceast Robert Campbell of Glenlyon in the year 
1684, whereby out of love and favour to the present 
Glenlyon his sone, he restricts the great sums due to 
his Lops, to the sum of 39,000 lib, and grants the said 
John Campbell of Glenlyon a Reversion for redeeming the 
said lands wtin the space of six years thereafter. But on 
this express condition, that in case the said lands were not 
redeemed wtin said time, then and in that case the rever- 
sion should ipso facto expyre and become extinct, as if the 
same had never been made nor granted. The Marquess 
paying to this Glenlyon, in the event of not redemption, 
ane certain sum." . . . . " Glenlyon haveing failed in 
useing the ordor of Redemptione wtin the limited time, the 
Marquess raises a proces of Declarator agt. him, for declare- 
ing the reversion granted to him, out of love and favour 
only, extinct and voyd ; and accordingly the same was 
declared, and the present Duke of Athole, as haveing right 
from his fayr. to the lands of Glenlyon, did pay to the 
present Glenlyon a certain sum of money upon his grant- 
ing a Discharge yrof in terms of the forsd reversion." 
The opinion as to Glenlyon's liability to his father's credi- 


tors then follows, but is of no consequence, especially as it 
was not acted upon. 

The next papers contain a list of the most pressing of 
Robert Campbell's debts at the time of his decease. There 
were many other and heavy debts due to friends, who 
gave the ruined family breathing space to recover them- 
selves. These papers afford a good insight into the every- 
day life of a laird in the seventeenth century, and are in- 
teresting for the statistical clues they offer to any person 
delighting in such researches : 

John, Duke of Atholl, &c., sheriff principal of the sheriffdome of 
Perth, To mairs, conjunctly & severally, speciallie constitute, Greet- 
ing. Forasmuchas It is humbly meaned and shown to us By Master 
David Ramsay of Lethendie, executor after mentioned, That where 
umpie. Robert Campbell of Glenlyon as principal, and John Campbell 
younger of Glenorchie as Cautioner, by their bond, subscribed he them 
of the date the fyth and seventh dayes of June, 1661 years band and 
oblidged them, conjunctly and severallie, their heirs &c, to have con- 
tented and paid to John Ewing, merchant in London, the sum of fourteen 
pound thertteen shillings three pennies sterling money principal, and at 
and again the first day of Jully then next, with twentie shillings money 
foresaid of liquidate expences, in caice of failzie ; and annualrents after 
the said dyet of payment dureing the not payment thereof as the said 
bond in itself more fullie bears. In and To the which bond, sums of 
money, principal annualrents, and expences adwriten, the said John 
Ewing, by his assignation, dated the nth of October, anno foresaid, 
made & constitute James Nickoll, writer in Edinburgh, his cossioner 
& assigney : Likeas, the said James Nickoll, by his j translation, 
subd be him of the date the twelveth day of March, 1685, Transferred 
and disponed his haill right yrof In favour of John Melvill, younger, 
merchant in Edinburgh : And Sicklike, he by his Disposition, dated 
the 24th March, 1688 years, conveyed his haill right to the premises 
in favours of the said Mr. David Ramsay, complainer. As Also, the 
said umq 1 Robert Campbell, by his other bond, subscribed by him of 
the date the fyfth day of March, 1669 years, band and oblidged him, 
his heirs, &c. to have contented payed to Mr. Archibald Campbell, 


writer at Edinburgh, the sum of fourscore pounds Scots money prin- 
cipal, at and again Lambas then next, with sixteen pounds of liquidat 
expences in caice of failzie, and adrent after the date of the said 
bond, during the not payt as the Sd bond in itself proposes : In and 
To the which bond, and sums yrin contained, the said Mr. Archibald 
Campbell, by his letters of assignation, of the date the tenth of 
September, 1679, made and constitute John Campbell, writter to the 
Signet, his cossioner & assigney : Likeas, the said John Campbell, by 
his translation, subscribed by him of the date the fyitf of June, 1682 
years, transferred and disponed his haill right qrof in favours of James 
Nickoll, merchant in Edinr. together with all letters and diligence, 
raised by him yrupon : And Likeways, the said James Nickoll, by his 
right and disposition, sub ed be him of the date the twelveth of March 
1685, sold, assigned and disposed the foresd bond last narrated, and 
haill conveyances thereof, in favours of the said John Melvil, 
yor merchant in Edinburgh : And Sicklike, the said John Melvill by 
his right & disposition, subscribed be him of the date the twenty-fourt 
of December, 1688, assigned and disponed in favours of the sd Mr. 
David Ramsay, complainer, the foresd last narrated bond assignation. 
Translation and Disposition, with all that had or might follow yrupon, 
as the saids haill writts of the respective dates above written, herewith 
produced, in ymselves at more length is contained : ffor payment and 
satisfaction of the which sums of money, prin 1 , adrents, and expences 
adwritten, contained in the foresds bonds, the said Mr. David 
Ramsay, as haveing right in manner adwritten, Did, upon the twenty- 
two day of December, 1696 years, confirm himself executor-dative 
qua creditor to the said umq le Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, before the 
Commissar of Dunkeld, and particularly to the moveable goods & gear 
of the sd defunct contained in the Confirmed Testament, and particu- 
larly aftermend : Towitt, five old plugh horses, all estmat over head 
to fiftie pound ; Item, eleven great cows with their calves, estimat to 
twelve pound per piece Inde, ane hundred and thretty two pound ; 
Item, five three-year-old cows at eight pound the piece Inde, fourty 
pound ; Item, three two-year-old cows at five pound the piece Inde- 
fifteen pound ; Item, three ane-year-old stirks at four pound the piece 
Inde, twelve pound ; Item thretty-six head of sheep at two marks 
and ane half the piece Inde, fiftie pound ; Item, nine ane-year 
old hogs at twenty shillings the piece Inde, nine pound ; Item, 
twentie-eight lambs at ten shillings the piece Inde, fourteen pound ; 


Item, eight bolls of white oats, sown crop 1696 years, estimat to the 
third corn Inde, twentie-four bolls at four pound the boll Inde, 
ninetie six pound ; Item, twelve bolls of gray oats, sown crop foresaid, 
estimat to the third corn Inde, thretty-six bolls at two pound the 
boll Inde, seventie-two pound ; Item, of Rye five bolls, sown estimat 
to the third corn Inde, fifeteen bolls at five pound the boll Inde, 
sixty-five pound ; Item, three pecks Rye, sown at the third corn, is 
nine pecks at half ane mark the peck Inde, three pound ; Item, ane 
duzon of old silver spoons at five pound the piece Inde, sixty pound ; 
Item, ane silver quaich w* two lugs, estimat to three pound ; Item, 
ane silver cup, wt silver cover, estimat to thretty-six pound ; [Item, 
ane little silver dish, estimat to three pound ; Item, three brass candle- 
sticks, all estimat to eight pound ; Item, eleven old pewter plaits, qrof 
six large one, estimat to thretty-six shillings the piece, & the other five 
less ones to twenty shillings the piece Inde, fifeteen pound sixteen 
shillings ; Item, ane duzon of old pewter trenchers, estimat to eight 
shillings Inde, four pound sixteen shillings ; Item, ane broken pewter 
quart stoup, ane pint stoup, ane chopin & ane muskin stoup, all of 
pewter, all estimat to four pound ; Item, two brass pans, ane 483. and 
the other 125. Inde, three pound; Item, ane old kettle, con s about 
ten gallons, estimat to 24 lib. ; Item, ane mashing vatt, estimat to 
four pound ; Item, ane wort stand, worth half ane crown, ane pound 
los ; Item, three iron pots, qrof two containing a gallon the piece & 
the other six pints Inde, five pound ; Item, three barrells, qrof two 
of four gallons the piece, & the oyr ane gallon, ane lead gallon, awori 
dish and a two-handed tub, all estimat to three pound ; Item, three 
stands, estimat to four pound los ; Item, two washing-tubs worth two 
pound ; Item, four meathers, three chopin cogs, two timber plaits, a 
timber ladle, and cheeser and ane * * dish all estimat to sixteen shil- 
lings ; Item, two butter cans, worth 55 the piece ; Item, ane speit and 
ane pair of raxes, worth six pound ; Item, ane crook, and ane pair of 
tongs, and a brander, all estimat to 2 lib. ; Item, ane old girdle, 
worth I2s. ; Item, ane meal firlot, ane peck, & ane lippy, all worth 
ane pound ; Item, the plough, wt. the plough graith and irons yrt 
belonging, and horses graith, all worth three pound ; Item, of bed- 
steads wtin the house of Chestill, four all furnished w l curtains, feather 
beds, & blanquets & sheets, all estimat to ane hundred pound ; Item, 
of box beds, three w 4 - sheets and blanquets, estimat to 20 lib. ; Item, 
two stand of hangers, ane qrof stript, the oyr plain estimat to 20 libs ; 


Item, ane table in the hall worth * * *, a carpet cloath, worth twenty 
pound ; Item, ane old skringe, yr worth ane pound los. ; Item, ane 
old pair of virginals, twelve pound ; Item, of the tables throw the 
house, four worth four pound ; Item, ane old knock, worth ten 
pound ; Item, ane old meal girnell, estimat to eight pound ; Item, 
three little chists, worth three pound ; Item, ane ambrie, worth 3 
lib. ; Item, ten old rustic leather chairs, estimat to 10 lib. ; Item, of 
other chairs throw the house, six estimat to seven pound ; Item, three 
truncks, three timber chists, and two bigger chists worth 20 lib. ; 
Item, ane large looking-glass, estimatt to five pound ; Item, 
ane old large Bible, estimat to four pound ; Item, three duzon 
of dornuck servets, some of ym old, and three table-cloathes and two 
hand towels, all estimat to twenty pound ; Item, three * * * * of 
pewter, worth ane pound i6s. ; Item, ane glass case, with eight 
glasses, estimat to 5 lib. 6s. 8d. ; Item, ane pistoll and ane morter of 
copper, worth four pound ; Item, ane smoothing iron worth 2os. ; 
As in the said testament at more length is con d : And true it is and of 
veritie (that Helen Lindsay) relict spouse to the said deceast Robert 
Campbell of Glenlyon, hath intromitted with, used, and disposed upon 
the goods, gear, and others particularly abovemend contained in the 
sd confirmed Testament, and als that she is * * Intromissatrix yrwith, 
and with the other moveable goods and gear that belonged to her sd 
umqie husband or at least doth oyrwise passive represent him, and there- 
fore of all law, equitie, and reason, she the sd Helen Lindsay ought 
should be decerned and ordained be decreit of Court, order of law & 
justice either to make pay* and satisfaction to the said Mr. David 
Ramsay, complr, of the sums of money, princ 11 adrents, & expences 
due to him, for himself, and as assigney foresd, by the sd deceast 
Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, conform to the severall bonds admend 
or at least to make forthcoming and deliverie to the sd complr the 
goods, gear, and oy's particularly abovementioned, which belonged to 
the said delunct, and were intromitted wt by her as said is, and qrunto 
the said complainer hath right as exer foresd, or else to satisfie and 
pay the complainer the avails and prices yrof above sett down 
Yerefore, &c. 


AT Dunkeld, the nynteen day of November Jm VI and nyntie sex 
yeirs, In presence of John Stewart of Ladywell, Comrie of Dun- 
keld, Sittand in Judgement Anent the lybelled, as howe persued at 
the Instance of Helen Lindsay, relict of the deceast Robert Campbell 
of Glenlyon, persuer, Summonding, Warning, and Chargeing, 
the persuers defenders undermend personallie or at there dwelling 
house ; To witt, John Campbell, lawll sone to the defunct Alexander 
Campbell of Ardeonack, John Stewart of Cammoch in special ; And 
all others having or pretending to have Intrest generallie, at the mercat 
cross of Dunkeld, To have compeired before the sd comrie, and named 
the day and dait of thir presents, to have heard and gein the debts & 
oyrs. underwritn resting be the sd deceast Robert Campbell to the sd 
Helen Lindsay, perssuer, for herself and as haveing right in maner 
underwritn to be found Justly adebted to her ; and that she ought to 
be decerned excrix Creditrix to the goods aftermentiond for payt. of 
the samen : They are to say, Mr. William Foord, sometyme school- 
master at Chestill (afterwards at Dunkeld), for ane yeir and ane 
quarter, the soume ffourscor three punds sex shilling eight pennies : 
Item, to Mr. John Andersone, sometyme school master yr. the 
soume of ane hundreth punds Scots money ; Item, to Sibella Ayssome, 
for sex years and ane halfs for hire, The soume of ane hundred and 
seventeen punds, being eighteen punds yearly ; Item, to John McGillio- 
christ, hyre man, the soume of twenty nyne punds sex shillings eight 
pennies of fie and bounties for two yeirs ; Item, to Patrick Thomsone, 
hyre man, twenty merks yearly for two yeirs Inde, twenty sex punds 
threttein shillings four pennies ; Item, to John Mcewin, Clerich, of by 
gone fies, The soume of twentie punds ; Item, to Donald Ban 
McCallum, also servitor, the soums of threttein punds sex shilling 
eight pennies for ane yeir's fie & bounty ; Item, to Christian M'Nab, 
late servitrix, of fie & bounty fyve merks ; Item, to Donald Clerich, 
of fie, four punds ; Item, to Donald M'Kissick, for ane yeir and ane 
half's fie, thretty punds j Item, to Patrick M'Ewin, of fie, for ane yeir, 


the soume of nyne punds ; Item, to Mr. Neill Stewart, schoolmaster, 
att Fortingall, preceiding Mertymes Jm. VI nyntie sex, twelve 
punds ; Item, to John Mcewin, servitor to the Lady Glenlyone, seven 
punds sex shillings eight pennies, for ane yeir's fie ; Item, to John 
Mcllline, herd of by gone fies, the soume of twenty two punds threttein 
shillings four pennies ; Item, to Robert Mcewin, servitor, the soume 
of seven punds sex shillings eight pennies for ane yeir's fie ; Cathrine 
McNaughtone, present servitrix, twenty punds for fie & bounty att 
Mertymes ; Item, to Mary Roy, present servitrix, on pund sex shilling 
eight pennies ; Item, to Donald Reoch, footman, four punds yearly 
fie, fyve yeir's fie, extending to twentie punds ; Item, the soume of four 
hundreth & fyfty punds for mantinance of ye family, from the first of 
August, 1696, to Mertymes nyntie sex, extending in the heall to the 
sonme of nyne hundreth and forty punds, salvo Justo calculo ; or else 
to have compeired and shown ane reasonable cause why the sds 
soumes ought not to be found and declaired to be resting to the sd 

persuer by the sd defunct, &c., &c. Therefore the Judge 

decerned, declaired, and ordained, and decerns, declaires, and or- 
dains, in maner adwritten ; whereupon Patrick Robertson, as proc r - 
for and in the name of the sd persuer, asked and took act of court ; 
Extractum per me, Jo. MILLER. 

Robert Campbell left a family of four daughters and 
three sons. The eldest daughter, Elizabeth was married to 
Alexander Campbell of Ardeonaig, and had issue. The 
second, Janet, was first married to Robert Campbell of 
Boreland ; and their great-grandson, afterwards first Mar- 
quess, succeeded in 1782 to the Earldom of Breadalbane 
on the failure of " Pale John's " issue in the third genera- 
tion ; she was married, secondly, to Ewen Cameron, Bore- 
land. The other two died unmarried. Of the sons, John 
succeeded to the empty title of Laird of Glenlyon ; Robert 
was a lieutenant in Lord Carmichael's regiment of dra- 
goons ; and Alexander died early. Elizabeth and Janet 
received 2000 merks of tocher, a portion of 1200 merks the 
piece was given several years after their father's decease to 


each of the rest, out of the proceeds of the jointure lands in 
Glenlyon, which were sold about 1700 to Menzies of Cul- 
dares, but which did not come into his possession until 
1729. Jean Campbell, the much married mother of 
Robert of Glenlyon, on the death of her third husband, 
returned to Chesthill. When she died, the three Lairds, 
her sons, assembled their men to the funeral. The 
time intervening between the death and burial was taken 
up in the exercise of such games as .^Eneas might have in- 
stituted in honour of his father's death, and which Virgil 
would have with delight described in sounding heroics. In 
the race, sword-exercise, fencing, wrestling, tossing the 
caber, throwing the hammer, &c.,the Glenlyon men acquitted 
themselves with honour ; in the putting-stone they and the 
Stewarts were put to the blush by one of the M'Gregors, 
who pitching the stone through the fork of a high tree, 
made a better cast than any of them was able to do with- 
out such an impediment. Robert, anxious for the honour 
of the Glen men, sent off in the night for one of his shep- 
herds, called Robert M 'Arthur, who was famous for ath- 
letic feats. After walking fifteen miles at the chieftain's 
behest, the rest of the night or morning was spent by 
M 'Arthur and the Laird trying the cast of the M'Gregor. 
On the renewal of the game, M'Gregor having cast the 
stone as before, challenged any present to do the like. 
M'Arthur taking it up carelessly and without even putting 
off his plaid, threw the stone in the same way as M'Gregor, 
and it fell several feet beyond the mark. Robert was so 
overjoyed at the result, as to give the gillies a double 
allowance of whisky, and the mirth waxed so fast and furi- 
ous, that the purpose of their meeting was nearly for- 


gotten, and the interment allowed to lie over for another 

Laird John having but the little property of Kilmorich, 
burdened too with his father's debts, and bound to keep up 
the honour of an old family, was, during many years, never 
out of difficulties. He set himself resolutely to become free 
of debt ; in effecting his purpose his whole life was nearly 
spent, but he saw it done. The first duke of Athole, 
though, as mentioned before, he resisted the claim to the 
redemption of Glenlyon on the payment of a very moderate 
sum, became a true and kind friend. In 1710 the Duke 
excambed with Glenlyon the estate of Fortingall, or as 
now called, Glenlyon House, for Kilmorich. The Duke 
allowed himself clearly to have the worst of the bargain. 
Lord Glenorchy, son of Earl Breadalbane, was a real 
friend, and lent him money on easy terms. Breadalbane, 
to remove the coldness resulting from his conduct in the 
loss of Glenlyon, likewise bestirred himself to a certain ex- 
tent, without paying up old accounts, however. He inter- 
fered between Glenlyon and Colin, his own nephew, and 
made the latter, and his curator, Lochnell, settle with 
the former on easy terms. " Pale John " never had an ob- 
jection to gain a name for liberality at other people's ex- 
pense. Lochnell's answer to the Earl's request, is as 
follows : 

MY LORD I received your Lop.'s letter, the soth Jully, concerning 
Glenlyon's afaire with your nephew Coline, who in obedience to your 
Lop.'s commands brought home the whole papers relative to yt afaire ; 
and I'm afraid yt ye have wronged your nephew in soe doing, unlesse 
your Lop. see the afaire now ended in a friendly manner ; for it may 
oblidge Celine's doers not to be soe forward for him as they were ; 
who in law would have done his busines if your Lop. had not interfered 


As for the two points your Lop. mentions in your letter viz. the ad- 
rents and expenses I wish Glenlyon verie well, yett in justice I could 
not but decerne him the whole expence, yt he oblidged Coline to lay 
out in pursuing yt afaire in law ; and as for the adrents, I could not 
make it lesse yn qt was condescended to by boath parties in your 
Lop.'s presence ; and the more that the summe condescended upon 
doeth not exceed the fourth part of the adrent dew in law. As for the 
cautioners I know nothing about ym, but that I think your Lop. should 
not allow your nephew to accept of any but sufficient caurs. ; and what 
prejudice may be in Duneaves or his Broyrs being cautioners your 
Lop. knows best, but if Coline gett oyr sufficient cautioners at your 
Lop.'s sight, that will please him. I take it to be the same upon the 

As for that expedient your Lop. proposes anent Airds, I do not dis- 
approve of the overture, if made effectual by the condescendance of 
all the parties concerned ; but seeing I am not in the cuntrie to treat 
with Airds upon the head, I referre to your Lop. with concent of your 
Nephew, to doe in it as ye think most expedient. If your Lop. were 
at Castell Kilechurne, and all parties concerned pnt. I doe not doubt 
but yt your Lop. would see yt afaire concluded to the satisfactione 
of the wh oil parties concerned, but I cane not see thorrowe howe it 
may be done in heast, the leaving at sich ane distance from one ane 
oyr, and in the meantyme it putts ane stope to your Nephew's afaire, 
qeh is not his interest. 

To conclude, all that I have to say upon the matter is, that your 
Lop. see Glenlyone and your Nephew settled in a friendly manner, 
conforme to artickles condescended to by ym boath in your Lop.'s 
presence ; oyrways yt ye allowe your Nephew seue Glenlyone in law, 
as formerly ; and if that beis the event, as I hope not, ye have done 
your Nephew noe favour. And more, I'rae obliged to give your Lop. 
the trouble in minding you to doe justice to your Nephew anent his 
moyr's tocher, oyrways yt ye command him discharge you being yt it 
lyes in the hands of none to doe him justice in that matter but your 
Lop. ; and though his heart faills him to seue your Lop. in law for it, 
ye know very well he would come speed if he did it ; and if your Lop. 
would but consider the circumstancs of your Nephew, and of his three 
portionless brethren, it would be motive enough to oblidge your Lop. 
to do him justice. And I may freely say, that hitherto I did bear their 
vvholl burdine ; and now when they are come to be men, the least that 


could be expected is that your Lop. would do ym justice, they having 
the honour to be so nearly interested in your Lop. not asse now, but 
now and always continue, my Lord, your Lop.'s Cussine and humble 

Mingarie, July 30, 1711. J. CA. of Lochinell. 

A little after the date of the foregoing letter, a circum- 
stance occurred, which, for a time, interrupted the good 
feeling between Glenlyon and the family of Breadalbane. 
At the death of Red Duncan, Robert Campbell's grand- 
father, the latter being but a child, Sir Robert of Glenor- 
chy was one of his curators, and under the pretext of tak- 
ing better care of it, removed the Clach-Buadha (stone of 
victory) from Meggernie to Finlarig. It remained with the 
family of Breadalbane during Robert's lifetime, who was 
sceptical of its virtues or too easy-minded to make the 
least effort to regain it. When the excambion with the 
Duke of Athole was completed, his mother exhorted Laird 
John to reclaim the stone, as if its possession was more 
calculated to insure him and his race the enjoyment of the 
new property than any legal rights and documents what- 
ever. The misfortunes of Robert, and the success of Bread- 
albane, afforded proof positive of the inestimable value of 
the wonderful stone. Glenlyon therefore demanded its 
restoration, and the wily politician and hoary intriguer ex- 
hibited his superstitious weakness by giving him a counter- 
feit. The Glenlyon family having put it to the test, by 
immersion in water, immediately discovered the fraud. 
The attempt at imposition roused the Laird to fury, and 
he at once galloped back to Taymouth, poured out all the 
vials of his wrath upon the head of the Earl, and wound up 
a torrent of vituperation with the threat of laying Taymouth 


Castle in ashes, should not the true stone be restored on 
the spot Earl John was old, and in his last days no 
warrior ; his own followers, he was aware, would not sup- 
port him in such barefaced injustice, and not being ready 
for battle, as a demand couched in such language admitted 
of no other reply, the stone was given up. Glenlyon, it is 
said, prospered ever after ; but be that as it may, at the 
time it put him into a pretty difficulty with Lord Glenor- 
chy, about the money he owed him. The copy of Glen- 
lyon's answer to Glenorchy, without a date, given below, 
has a very different tone from the humble requisition to 
the Earl in 1696 : 

My Lord I got your Lop.'s letter from Taymouth last day anent 
the money I am owing to you by bond, q ch should indeed have been 
paid at Mert. last. 1 would pay it then without any scruple, had I 
been discreetlie dealt with. But being treated lyke banckrab by regis- 
trating my bond and giving a charge of horning, some weeks before 
the sd term, I thought fitt to employ my money oyrways. And I de- 
pend upon some yeir's adrents of an eight hundred merks bond, that 
your father owes me for the Translation of the Feues my father had in 
Lome for your Lop.'s payment. For the principal I suppose it will be 
inteir after your Lop.'s payed. As for Ardeonaick's busines, it's as 
much to yor own prejudice to delay it as it is to mine ; qrfor I think 
its both yor Lop.'s and father's interest to press it, so long as all 
parties concerned are living, more than myne. Meintyme your Lop. 
should desyre the Earle to clear my adrents and so shoon as that is 
done I shall pay your Lop. &c. c. 

The Highlanders mortally hated William and Mary. 
The songs and satires of the celebrated bard, John M'Donald 
or Iain Lorn, in which the ingratitude of William and un- 
dutifulness of Mary are portrayed in the darkest colours, 
spread the unfavourable impression among the very men 
who had fought in their cause. Fidelity in friendship and 


affectionate submission to the authority of parents, are un- 
doubtedly stronger principles in a primitive community 
than among the more civilized ; for in the absence of the 
strong coercion of artificial laws, the obligations and ties 
founded on the general law of nature must necessarily 
exert an active power over the intercourse of men, else 
they can no longer exist, individually or corporately. 
Parental authority, by the peculiar institution of clanship, 
is placed above all other obligations, and hence King 
William would have been more acceptable to the High- 
landers had he been a Khan of the Tartars instead of Prince 
of Orange, or a daring usurper like Cromwell instead of 
nephew and son-in-law of the late King. Harvests remark- 
ably unfruitful, a blasting east wind that shrivelled up the 
produce of the ground, rendered many years of his reign a 
time of continual dearth. The Highlanders' rude ideas of re- 
tributive justice associated the visitation of providence with 
the crimes and government of the King; they believed the sins 
of the ruler were visited upon his subjects, and that through 
the dearth the revenge of heaven fell upon them for tamely 
submitting to the oppressor of their native prince. But the 
massacre of Glencoe no less deterred from rebellion that 
it provoked indignation ; and the Highlands after that event 
remained quietly but anxiously awaiting for William's death 
as the only escape from misery. In connection with that 
event, an anecdote which I have heard may be given in 
proof of what has been said. On the 8th March, 1702, a 
widow woman in Camusvrachdan, in Glenlyon, astonished 
her neighbours by the news of the King's death. She had 
no visible means of information, was far from being sus- 
pected of witchcraft, and still she asserted the truth of what 

8 4 


she said with wonderful pertinacity. On being pressed for 
her reason, she replied, " My cow gave me twice the milk I 
ever had from her at any time for the last seven years." 
By subsequent information it was discovered William had 
died on the precise day. 


THE estate of Glenlyon did not long remain in posses- 
sion of the Athole family. The Marquess during 
the short time he had it, projected, and partly completed, 
several improvements. He repaired the roads, built 
bridges, and commenced working the lead mine called 
" Meall-luaid/ie? on the hill of Kerrumore, an undertaking 
that would probably be now highly remunerative, but 
which failed then on account of the difficulty of carriage. 
He, moreover, gets credit traditionally for having been the 
first to introduce the larch tree to Glenlyon ; but in this 
matter tradition errs. It was Crowner Menzies' grandson 
who first brought larches from the Tyrol. The larches be- 
hind the garden of Meggernie, were the first planted in 

After being held by the Marquess for seven years, he 
sold the estate to Colonel James Menzies of Culdares, 
better known by the name of " Crunnair Ruadh nan cearc? 
i.e. " Crowner Roy of the Hens." The history of this man 
is very curious, but the hearsay version may not be very ac- 
curate. The dramatic cast given it by tradition may be an 
embellishment of the truth ; but, unluckily, having no means 
of testing the matter, I can merely give as I find. 

About the year 1620, a boy, known by the name of James 
Roy of the Hens, was to be found among the hangers-on 
of the Knight of Weem, the chief of the Menzieses, He 


was an orphan, and claimed some distant cousinship with 
the family of Menzies. The chief, pitying the poor orphan, 
extended to him his patronage and protection, and made 
free to him the hospitality of his kitchen. The boy's ostensible 
duty was, to look after the poultry, from which he acquired 
his cognomen "of the Hens." But everybody was the boy's 
master, and for each little delinquency the butler deprived 
him of his dinner. In such a straight, the lad usually made 
his moan to a comfortable childless couple who kept the 
neighbouring " tigh-osda," or public. There he was always 
welcome, his wants supplied, and his hardship sympathised 
with. Meantime he was growing up such a sharp, intelligent, 
comely lad, as to give occasion to his kind protectress, 
the hostess of the inn, to remark, " Many a pretty man 
would like to have James Roy for his son." 

The era of which we are speaking was fraught with great 
events which immediately concerned the welfare of Ger- 
many but prospectively the universal freedom of mind. From 
the day that Luther ended his memorable defence before 
the Emperor Charles and his nobles at Worms with the 
words, " Unless I shall be convinced by the words of the 
Bible, or by open, clear, and convincing reasoning, I neither 
can nor will recant ; for it is neither safe nor advisable to 
do anything against one's conscience. Here I stand : I 
cannot act otherwise ; may God help me, Amen," the two 
parties of Catholic and Protestant stood out openly and 
professedly each other's foes. The defensive alliance 
entered into by the Protestant Princes at Schmalkalden in 
1531, as long as the confederates remained true to their re- 
ligion and one another, stemmed the combined attack of 
the Pope and the Emperor, 


The chronic struggle, calmed for the time by the pacifi- 
cation of Passau (1552), which secured to the Protestants 
liberty of conscience, broke out anew with double fierceness, 
when, fifty years afterwards, the Catholics, with the un- 
worthy help, it must be owned, of the Lutherans, attempted 
to shut out the Calvinists from the benefits of the Con- 
cordat. Matters reached their height at the death of 
Mathias, 1619. The Bohemians, who had in vain protested 
against the election of Ferdinand, broke into open revolt, 
and chose Frederick, Elector Palatine, for their King. He 
was a Protestant and a Calvinist. James I. of England, his 
father-in-law, did not give the expected aid, but the British 
people burned to rush to the rescue, and were ready to risk 
every hazard for their German brethren in the faith, and 
their leader, the husband of the Princess Elizabeth. The 
banner of Protestantism, struck from the hand of Frederick 
on the battle field of Prague, and reared anew by Christian IV. 
of Denmark, was grasped at length by the heroic Gustavus 
Adolphus, and borne in unintermitted triumph, until it fin- 
ally fluttered above his body on the plain of Leutzen. 
Gustavus fell amidst his triumphs, but his spirit survived in 
his Swedish Generals, and the peace of Munster confirmed 
to the Protestants of the Lutheran and Reformed churches 
an equality of civil and religious rights and privileges with 
their Catholic fellow-subjects of the empire. 

While the recovery of the Palatinate formed for James 
the subject of endless intrigues and negotiations, at the 
same time anxiously evading the necessity of war with 
Austria or Spain, his subjects, both English and Scotch 
the latter especially sent numberless volunteers into the 
ranks of the Protestant League of Germany. Many were 


induced to go from motives of religious duty and pre- 
dilections, and their love of civil liberty ; but the great ma- 
jority were young men allured by the love of fame and ad- 
venture, for which Britain afforded no field since the union 
of the crowns. Of the latter class of adventurous restless 
spirits was our hero, James Roy. When or how he found 
his way to Germany nobody knows, and what were his for- 
tunes there are almost equally obscure. Some years of 
absence, during which nothing was heard of him, made his 
name forgotten by all who formerly knew him, except the 
innkeeper of Weem and his wife. When war with King 
Charles broke out in 1639, the Scottish officers serving 
abroad were invited home by the Tables. Among the 
rest James Roy returned. His gallantry and talents had, 
it appeared, raised him from the ranks in the service of 
Sweden ; and Leslie, his old commander, was now his 
general also. 

After the pacification of that year the Scottish forces were 
for a short time disbanded. During this period, a gentle- 
man on horseback arrived late in the day at the small inn 
of Weem. His dress and arms were strange to the inhabi- 
tants, who seldom saw anything but Highland lairds riding 
about in those days, and they, when they came had always 
their "tail on," and left no one in doubt as to name, 
station, and business. The stranger, without satisfying in- 
quiries, saw his horse stabled and entered the house. He 
seemed struck at the appearance of his host, and asked 
what had become of such a person, naming his predecessor 
in the public. His host, astonished to find the seeming 
foreigner acquainted with the inhabitants of Weem, told 
him reverses had come upon the old couple, and that 


they had been obliged to give up the inn some years 
before, and were now living in a hut, which he pointed 
out, very poor and helpless. The stranger muttered an ex- 
clamation, and without saying more walked to the hut in 
question. The old couple were making ready their supper, 
which consisted of "cauld kail made hot again," and a 
piece of bread, when they were suddenly disturbed by 
a loud rap at the door. The wife opened it, and the 
strange gentleman entering without farther ado, asked 
in good Gaelic, could they give him bed and supper for the 
night? Much wondering who he was, both replied in a 
breath they were sorry they could not, they were too poor 
to have anything suitable for a gentleman like him. 
"Never mind appearance," says he, striking imperiously 
with his riding whip the table on which their poor supper 
was placed : " I have supped off that ere now, and I shall 
do so to-night. You fed me in my need, and let it be my 
care to feed, support and honour you in poverty and age. 
I am James Roy of the Hens bid we welcome." He was 
as good as his word, and treated them like father and 
mother as long as they lived. 

Roy fought with great gallantry throughout the whole 
civil war. While serving in Ireland, he had a romantic in- 
trigue with an Irish lady endowed with the second sight, 
and a knowledge of magic, arts in which she is said to have 
also indoctrinated her lover. James Roy, however, for all 
her gifts, abandoned his Irish lady-love, and when she 
followed him afterwards to Scotland with their infant son, 
he refused to see her, and she and the child returned to 
Ireland. This was about 1646, and the cause of his 
treachery may be found in his being at the time matrimoni- 


ally contracted to Sophia, daughter of the Baronet of Glen- 
orchy and an aunt of " Pale John." The Irish lady's curse 
followed their nuptials. When the bridal feasting and rejoic- 
ings were going on at Finlarig, a hasty messenger announced 
to the Campbells that four hundred of the Lochaber men 
had broken in upon Glendochart, and were now driving the 
creach over Stronchlachane, the hill above Killin. Flushed 
with wine, the Campbells insisted upon being led against 
the foe. The bridegroom, who saw the Catherans' advant- 
ages of position, as having sun, wind, and ground in their 
favour, remonstrated against an immediate attack, and pro- 
posed a plan by which the robbers could be taken at un- 
awares, and the creach safely recovered. One of the 
Campbells, for this prudent advice, retorted upon Menzies 
with the charge of cowardice, calling him the " Meinarach 
Bog," i.e. soft Menzies. The soldier of Gustavus, who owed 
all to his sword, was not the man in presence of his high- 
born bride and new kinsmen, who were ready to find every 
fault with him on account of plebeian birth for a moment 
to bear patiently such an affront. " Each man's blood be 
on his own head," says he ; "charge the foe in God's name ; 
we shall see before night who is soft and who is not." In 
the murderous affray which followed, Menzies attacked 
hand-to-hand the leader of the Lochaber men, and slew 
him, while taunting him with his nickname of the " Hens." 
The head of the Lochaber man was cut off with such 
quickness and dexterity, that it is said, as it rolled down the 
hillside separated from the body, the tongue for some seconds 
continued to articulate " Cearc, Cearc." As foreseen by 
Menzies, the day went against the Campbells, great num- 
bers were slain, and no fewer than eighteen youths of 


gentle blood, in the nearest degrees of kindred to the house 
of Breadalbane, were buried at Finlarig next day. Men- 
zies, who performed that day feats of the greatest personal 
prowess, when matters became desperate rallied the dis- 
comfited and broken Campbells, and retreated in firm order. 
The Lochaber men pursued them to the very gates of Fin- 
larig Castle. Menzies, who was in armour of proof, received 
nine arrows in his back during the retreat, one when enter- 
ing the gate. 

On the return of the Covenanting army from England, 
January, 1647, the Marquess of Huntly and Sir Alexander 
M'Donald were at the head of some Highland and Irish 
forces for King Charles in the north. General David 
Leslie took the castles belonging to the Marquess, ravaged 
his estates, and pursued himself into Lochaber, but failed to 
capture him. The Marquess was finally taken by our 
hero, now a Lieutenant-Colonel, in Strathdon, December, 
1647. History says he was taken in the house at Dalnabo 
when going to bed, but this is the version of tradition. 
After several vain attempts both by Leslie and Middleton, 
Menzies was sent in pursuit. His men searched the house 
at Dalnabo, and discovered no trace of the Marquess. Col. 
Menzies, without troubling himself about the search, stood 
with his horse against a peat stack, near the house. When 
his men gave up the search, " It is cold," says he ; 
" set the peat stack on fire ; we shall have a Christmas 
blaze." On this, the Marquess, who was hidden in the 
stack, came out and was made prisoner. The wizard lore 
Menzies learned in Ireland was supposed to have helped 
the discovery. A reward of ;i,ooo sterling had been pro- 
mised to any one capturing Huntly, and Lieutenant-Colonel 


James Menzies had an order to that amount on the Scotch 
exchequer, granted by the Committee of Estates. The spoil 
of the Gordons falling to his share was also very considerable. 
After the battle of Dunbar, Charles II. the King of 
the Scots, as he was then called endeavoured to shake 
himself free of Argyle and the Covenanters, and to form a 
royal party a party devoted blindly to hereditary right, 
and passive obedience a party hating, as he himself hated, 
the Solemn League and Covenant. For this purpose he 
entered into negotiations with the Highland chiefs, Huntly, 
Moray, and Athole being the foremost. These noblemen 
were to assemble their men, and the King was to escape 
from Perth when he heard they were ready, and join them 
in the mountains. By the information, it is said, of 
Buckingham, Argyle was put on his guard, and the Athole 
men, much to their surprise, found the Fords of Lyon 
strongly guarded by the Campbells under the command of 
our hero Menzies and his brother-in-law, John Campbell, 
younger of Glenorchy. By some cast of clever diplomacy, 
of which Campbell and Menzies were both masters the Earl 
of Athole and his brother were lured across the Lyon, and 
then snugly shut up in durance vile in Menzies's castle of 
Comrie. The Athole men, attacked in Glengowlandie 
without their leaders, dispersed. The King had simul- 
taneously escaped from Perth, but was taken at Clova, and 
brought back by Montgomery. The incident is known by 
the name of " The Start." An act of indemnity was passed 
in favour of the Athole men for their share in the matter on 
the 1 2th of October, 1650, and the word rebellion, at the 
request of the Earl, was expunged from the pardon, and a 
more favourable term substituted, 


Colonel Menzies had an eye always to the main chance, 
but was generous to his friends and relatives. About 1650 
he is found possessing the property of Culdares, called 
also " Moncrieffs Land," in the dale of Fortingall. Bold 
and enterprising, he matched in prudence, if not in dupli- 
city, his brother-in-law, Breadalbane. When the King 
" came to his own again," the covenanting officer quietly 
made the best of affairs, set himself to acquire property, 
increased his capital by lending money out at an exorbitant 
rate of interest, and never afterwards took any active part 
in the politics of the period. He wished to buy the pro- 
perty of Glenlyon when Robert Campbell got so entangled 
in debt as to be unable to keep it longer. Robert's jealousy 
of Breadalbane precipitated matters ; and the Earl, who 
wished Glenlyon to fall to the Crowner, was for the time 
fairly baffled. From the following letter it would appear 
Menzies himself was one of Robert's debtors : 

Edr. 1 3th Febby, 1680. 

Sir I wrote laitlie wt Jon M'Nab showing you how I stood wt Sir 
Patrick Thriepland, who is pntly in town waiting for that moey that 
I am cautione for you to him ; and seeing that I am upon penaltie to 
pay him before I leave the town, therefore I again entreat you to send 
it heir wt all speed ; and I shall see it delyvered and get up your bond 
and a discharge of that soume. $o expecting to hear from you, 
imdatly that this conies to your hand, I refer the news to the E. of 
Caithnes 3 letters, who has written to you I understand. Yor very 
humble srt. 


After a few years' possession of it by the Athole family, 
the estate of Glenlyon was again in the market. Duncan 
Campbell of Duneaves, a near relative of the late Glenlyon, 
wished to obtain it, and entered into terms with Athole for 
that purpose. Colonel Menzies was his next neighbour > 


and when Duneaves told him the sum offered by him to 
Athole, " Ah," said he, " he is cheating you. Let me go 
to Blair in your place, and I will finish the bargain on 
easier terms." Menzies did go, and bought the property 
for himself. Duneaves, suspecting treachery when too late, 
went to Blair after Menzies. The Marquess was so enraged 
at the treachery displayed in the transaction, that he com- 
pelled Menzies, under threats of corporal punishment, to 
dispose to Duneaves on the spot his original estate of 
Culdares. How much of this is true, how much is false, I 
cannot say there is no authority but tradition. 

From the same respectable authority tradition, namely 
it would appear the Crowner had his full revenge. 
Menzies' eldest daughter was married to the Laird of 
Balleid ; the second daughter, Agnes, to Stewart of Cardney. 
He had no sons. The eldest daughter had only one child 
a daughter, who was brought up by the Crowner, her 
grandfather, and declared heiress to all his property. This 
lady was sought in marriage by Lord James Murray of 
Garth, son of the Marquess of Athole. The Crowner 
offered no opposition, and the day of betrothal was fixed. 
As for the girl, her feelings were not in the first instance 
consulted ; but when her grandfather found, to his great 
surprise, she had already given her maiden heart to a squire 
of low degree, he gave up his own plans for the sake of 
making her happy. The happy man was Captain Archibald 
Menzies, the Crowner's own nephew, a brave and generous 
youth, but quite penniless, and dependent for everything 
on his uncle's kindness. The astute and rather unscrupu- 
lous Crowner had strange corners for soft feelings in his 
soldier heart, and unknown to the noble wooer, unknown 


even to the girl's father, he readily gave in to the love 
romance of the youthful pair, and abetted and directed their 
schemes. Without any suspicion, the Marquess and his son 
came to the betrothal on the destined day. The hospitable 
board was spread, and the Crowner's welcome was worthy 
of his guests. But at the end of the repast, when the 
destined bride was expected, in her place enters a servant 
bearing a letter addressed to the Crowner. The latter 
reads, starts up, and exclaims to the astonishment of the 
company, " The bird has fled ! We are all cheated, my 
lord! Here's my grand-daughter's letter, begging to 
announce she loved my nephew better than your noble son 
and has fled with him fled with him, she says, for he sits on 
a pillion behind her. Well, the girl is self-willed, and has 
always had her own way. Lord James you are happy in 
having escaped riding behind her." Lord James was not 
disposed to swallow his mortification, and would have had 
recourse to violent measures, but he saw there was no use. 
His father on the other hand, who had before matched his 
wit against the Crowner's and had been befooled more than 
once, treated the matter as a practical joke, and quaffed a 
cup to the happiness of the runaways, and the continued 
success of his host's intriguing schemes. 

The Crowner died, when very old, at Comrie, about the 
year 1695. Captain Archibald and his grand-daughter 
succeeded to the property belonging to him. 


THE peaceful times for the Highlands, succeeding the 
massacre of Glencoe, may allow me now to turn aside 
a little from the Lairds, and devote this chapter to miscel- 
laneous thoughts and incidents, suggested by these inquiries, 
or connected with them. 

I beg pardon for quoting Latin ; but not having Sir 
John Skene's translation at hand, I am too diffident as to my 
knowledge of mediaeval law phraseology, to give my own 
as a true version, without affording others an opportunity 
of correcting me ; moreover, to classical scholars not ac- 
quainted with the writings of the middle ages, such samples 
may perchance be interesting. The first specimen is from 
the laws ascribed to Malcolm M'Kenneth, who commenced 
his reign 1003 : 

Leges Malcolm! Mackenneth, Cap. 10. " Item : ordinaverunt, 
quod nullus Baro, vel Comes, vel aliquis alius receptabit malefactorem 
aliquem, infra dominationem suam sub poena amissionis curiae suae 
in perpetuum" That is "They" (the King and Barons) "have 
ordained, that no Baron nor Count, nor any other, shall receive any 
malefactor within his lordship, under the penalty of losing his jurisdic- 
tion forever." 

The statute of William the Lion regarding the same 
subject is far more particular, and requires active as well as 
passive obedience ; not only malefactors must not be 
harboured, they must be pursued : 

Statuta sive Assisae Wilhelmi Regis, Cap. 7. Assisa Regis W 


helmi, facta apud Perth, quam Episcopi, Abbates, Comites, Barones, 
Thani, & tota communitas regni, tenere firmiter juraverunt ; quod nee 
latrones nee interfectores hominum, nee raptores, nee murdratores, 
nee alios malefactores, manu-tenebunt nee receptabunt. 

2. Quod tarn de propriis hominibus, quam de alienis, ubicunque eos 
poterunt reperire, pro posse suo, eos ad justitiam adducent ; et pro 
posse suo Justiciarios terrae manu-tenebunt. 

3. Et quod propter factum judicium aquae, vel ferri, vel duelli, aut 
cujuscunque modi judicii nullam sument aut capient pecuniam, aut 
aliud beneficium, pro quo effectus justitiae maneat imperfectus. 

4. Et quod pro posse suo, auxiliantes erunt Domino Regi ; ad inqui- 
rendum malefactores ; ad vindictam de illis capiendam. 

5. Et cum a Domino Rege requisiti fuerint unusquisque de curia 
alterius, secundum quod sciverit, verum testimonium perhibebit. 

6. Et Dominus Rex, curias ipsorum in vadio cepit ; Itaque qui 
convictus fuerit super hoc, et assisam hanc infregerit, curiam suam 
amittet in perpetuum. 

" The assize of King William made at Perth, which the Bishops, 
Abbots, Earls, Barons, Thanes, and the whole community of the 
Kingdom swore firmly to hold and observe : That they shall not re- 
ceive nor maintain robbers, manslayers, persons guilty of rapine, 
murderers, nor other malefactors." 

2. " That whether these be of their own men, or of those of others, 
they shall bring them to justice according to their power, wherever 
they can find them ; and that, as far as they can, they shall uphold 
the justiciaries of the land. 

3. " And that for holding the trial by water, by iron, by duel, 
or any other mode of justice, they shall receive or take no money 
or other gift, where through the effect of justice may remain im- 

4. " And that according to their power they shall be assisting their 
Sovereign Lord the King, in seeking out malefactors for being 

5. " And when required by their Lord the King that each, as far as 
he knows, shall give true testimony in regard to the court of the other. 

6. "And their Lord the King has taken their courts in pledge; 
therefore whosoever shall be convicted on this account, and shall 
infringe this assize> shall lose his rights of jurisdiction for ever." 

Passing over very many intervening Acts of a similar 



nature, let us contrast William the Lion's statute with the 
following bond : 

" Be it kend till all men be thir presents, me, Angus McDonald of 
Kenknock, fforasmuchas by the Laws and Acts of Parliament made 
for suppressing depredations, thift reift, poinding, * * and conniving 
with thift and other crymes, which wer ordinarily committed by the 
indwellers in the Highlands, it is statut and ordained, that all heritors, 
landlords, wadsetters, lyfrenters, and the heads and chieftains of clans, 
should find cautione for yr haill vassels, men-tenents, and servants. 
Lykeas, by severall Acts of Council, it is statut and ordained, that all 
branches of clans and heads of families should lykeways find cautione 
for the men-tenents, servants, and ye persons of their names descend- 
ing of their families. Therefore, I, as principall, and dame Lady 
Helen Lindsay, Lady Glenlyon, lyfrentrix of the lands mentioned in 
her * *, as caur for me, bind and oblidge us commonllie and seallie, 
our airs, excrs and successors, That I, the said Angus M'Donald, 
and my haill tenents, servants, and the persons of my name, descend- 
ing of my familie, wherever they dwell, shall commit no murder, man- 
slaughter, deforcement, reifts, thifts, depredationes, oppen or avowed 
fyr-raising upon deadly feuds, nor any other facts or deids contrarrie 
to the Acts of Parliament, under the pains of fyve hundred merks, 
Scots money, besydes the redressing and repairing of all paines and 
skaithes : And farther, that I shall produce before the Comyssioners 
of Justiciarie, appoynted for secureing the peace of the Highlands, or 
any other his Matie's Justiciarie haveing power for the tyme, all or any 
of my men-tenents, servants, and the persons of my name descending 
of my familie, whenever I shall be called or lawfullie cited to yt effect, 
under the penaltie forsaid, attour implement of the premyss ; and 
lykeways to give in yearly lists to the Comyssioners of Justiciarie, or 
any haveing power as sd is, of the haill persons' names residing within 
my bounds, above the age of twelve years, under the penaltie foresaid, 
&c. &c. Subscribed with our hands at Fortingall, the twelve day of 
November, 1701, befor thir witnesses Master Alexander Robertson, 
minister at Fortingall, and Duncan Campbell of Duneaves. 
Dun. Campbell, Witness. A. M'DoNALD 

A. Robertson, Witness. HELEN LINDSAY. 

Strange, in six hundred years so little change had 
happened ! This bond does not differ much, except in 


form, from the assize of William the Lion ; it takes security 
against the same evils, and, with a little more minuteness, 
provides by similar means for the maintenance of public 
safety. The exaction of oaths and promises of fidelity, 
and obedience to the law, is invariably a confession of 
weakness, and affords occasion for the very things it is 
intended to prevent. For the strong government, it is 
sufficient to publish the law embodying its will, affixing the 
punishment due for transgression ; and then it can wait 
without anxious caution in perfect reliance on its own 
strength, to be able, on a breach of the law being committed, 
to chastise the offender immediately with the punishment 
menaced. The certainty of punishment enables a strong 
government to dispense with cruel or capricious rigour ; for 
a small evil, which is sure to happen, is more dreaded than 
a great one, from which there is a strong probability of 
escape. The Scottish monarchy was always limited in its 
power, constitutionally, and the fierce disposition of the 
people, the power and lawlessness of the nobles, rendered 
practically that power much less than what it was consti- 
tutionally acknowledged to be ; yet one is astonished at 
the fact, so little political progress had been made in the 
course of six long centuries, that William of Orange could 
not dispense with the barbarous and clumsy fencing of 
authority employed by William the Lion. The causes 
thickly sewn over the surface of events during that period 
are numerous and complicated ; but abstracting the adven- 
titious, and sinking the secondary ones, the principal causes 
are not difficult to be understood. Artificial systems, 
either in science or politics, unless recommended by com- 
prehensive simplicity, or hallowed by the sacred association 


of years, easily succumb to unanticipated difficulties, and 
changes of character and circumstances. 

The social union based upon a general law of nature, 
such as the ties of consanguinity, and the reverence and 
obedience due to parental authority, sustains without yield- 
ing many rude shocks, and in spite of changes of external 
form the internal fabric is the same, and the relative 
position of parties remains unaltered as long as the principle 
on which the junction is founded has not been abjured by 
one of the parties themselves. From the days of Malcolm 
Ceanmore to the Revolution, the feudal system prevailed in 
the charters of land, the phraseology of law, and regulated, 
or appeared to regulate generally, the relation of the Chief 
to the King ; but the private connection of the Chief and 
his followers rested entirely on the antagonistic principle of 
clanship. The Chief was feudally the judge ; but be the 
law what it might, and be the Chief ever so inclined to 
carry it into effect, that could only be done to the extent 
the clan wished. The want of a standing army forced the 
King to make himself content with the sort of obedience 
his vassals thought convenient to give, and see his excellent 
laws come still-born into the world, or, after an active effort 
or two, become dead. The very men, who, according to 
their feudal tenure, for the time surrounded his banner, 
might shortly be rebels themselves, and were materially 
interested in not bringing the disobedient to severe account. 
It was only when the selfish passions of his followers were 
enlisted on the side of justice by mortal feuds, or grants of 
escheated goods, the King's letters of fire and sword were 
put really in force. The character given by Fordun of the 
Highlanders of the fourteenth century is not far from being 


applicable through the whole period of clanship. "The 
island or mountain race is wild and untamed, rude and 
without morals (obedience to the Church he means) capable 
of rapine, loving idleness, of a teachable and astute nature, 
of comely appearance, but rendered deformed by dress (the 
kilted-plaid forsooth) ; equally hostile and cruel to the 
people and tongue of England, as well as to (the lowland 
division of) their own nation, on account of the diversity of 
language ; but faithful to their King and country, and 
easily subjected to the law, if brought under control'' In 
the concluding sentence the venerable chronicler seems to 
lay the blame of the lawlessness of the Highlands upon the 
chiefs. King and statesmen wished the chiefs to adopt the 
feudal system in its rigour, and the whole scope of their 
efforts tended in that direction ; perhaps the latter at times 
were willing enough if they could ; but how were they to 
deny the brotherhood of blood, to refuse the grasp of friend- 
ship to faithful clansmen, while these had arms in their 
hands, and tradition and practice sanctioned the deposition 
and death of a degenerate chief? One virtue Fordun 
cheerfully concedes, " fidelity to the King and kingdom." 
It is historically true, as well as in accordance with the 
leading principles of the Celtic race. Within, the claim of 
equality of blood rendered nugatory every plan of im- 
provement, and scouted restrictions not in accordance with 
clan sentiments and immemorial practice ; without, it pre- 
sented the boldest front of military aggression, and rushed 
on the foe with the watchword, " Sons of the Gael, shoulder 
to shoulder!" The King, to them, 'was the chief of the 
great clan, comprising the nation, the successor of the 
Gallic Vergobretus or British Pendragon ; the head captain 


in time of war ; in peace, little or nothing above others. 
When danger and dishonour menaced the King and king- 
dom, the wild chivalry of the mountains was ever con- 
spicuously in front. Eighteen of the existing clans fought 
at Bannockburn ; when James IV. fell at Flodden, " beside 
him lay Argyle and Athole," and many other chiefs 
of main and isle. An affront to the kingdom was an 
affront to every clansman personally, and the King could 
rely on their swords to wipe away the disgrace ; but as for 
the laws of his domestic government, they just commanded 
assent as far as they were backed by force, or accorded 
with clan interests and predilections. 

But for all the tenacity with which Highlanders clung to 
ancient institutions and modes of thought, they could not 
have held out against surrounding influences and persevering 
efforts so long, had it not been for the inaccessible nature 
of their mountains. Till incorporated under the protection 
of the general laws, till it was no longer necessary for each 
man to guard his head, of necessity clanship maintained its 
vigour. Judicious Acts of Parliament, and transient exhibi- 
tions of vigour on the part of the central government, had no 
permanent effect. The Highlands had to be treated as the 
barbarous neighbour of a civilised country, until General 
Wade laid their recesses bare, united them to the rest of 
the kingdom by the bands of commerce and acquaintance, 
enabled Government to concentrate at a short notice any 
amount of force where danger was threatened, and, by a 
prudent disposition of military posts, made it easy to fore- 
see and anticipate each hostile outburst. The measures 
for which the rebellions of '15 and '45 formed the apology, 
such as the disarming and diskilting Acts, were the supple- 


ment to the General's labours ; the executive was now 
strong enough to dispense with vicarious factorships, to 
protect and punish every individual in the Highlands ; and 
the resumption of heritable jurisdictions was the earnest of 
its power and determination to do so. Wade, notwith- 
standing the escapade of Ossian's grave, and two or three 
similar exploits, knew well how to humour the Highlanders, 
and respect sentiments so different from his own. In a letter 
to Mr. Forbes of Culloden, then Lord-Advocate, the 
General describes an entertainment given him by Cearnaich 
or " cattle lifters " in the following terms : 

" The knight and I travelled in my carriage with great ease and 
pleasure to the feast of the oxen which the highwaymen had prepared 
for us opposite Lochgarry, where we found four oxen roasting at the 
same time, in great order and solemnity. We dined in a tent pitched for 
that purpose. The beef was excellent ; and we had plenty of bumpers, 
not forgetting your Lordship's and Culloden's health ; and, after three 
hours' stay, took leave of our benefactors the highwaymen, and arrived 
at the hut at Dalnacardoch before it was dark." 

Here was easy conduct with a vengeance for the 
Commander-in-Chief of the forces in North Britain ; but it 
was chiefly thus he obtained the love and respect of the 
Highlanders. Except in the prosecution of his engineer- 
ing plans, which he allowed no obstacle to oppose or 
turn aside, Wade was indeed so just and accommodating 
as to win the goodwill of all parties. M'Donald the Bard, 
a stiff Jacobite, thus " salutes " Wade the translation is 
Struan's : 

" Hail ! fav'rite of Great Britain's throne, 

Prime executor of her law ; 
Whose skill and forward zeal alone 

Could fierceness to submission draw. 


" Thro' rugged rocks you forced a way, 
Where trade and commerce now are found ; 

The indigent look brisk and gay, 
Since plenty does thro' you abound. 

" The steepest mountain ope's her womb, 

To let her sons and hero meet : 
Who could have dreamed it was her doom 

E'er to have vy'd with London street." 

Struan himself is no less emphatic. In the lines, " Tay 
Bridge to her Founder," he makes the bridge see and fore- 
tell the important consequences of the Marshal's labours. 
Tay Bridge was built 1733 : 

" Long hath old Scotia dissolution feare.d, 
Till you, her kind auspicious star appeared ; 
But soon as the celestial Power came down 
To smile on labour and on sloth to frown, 
Scotia, reviving, raised her drooping crown, 
Discord and barrenness confessed their doom 
One closed her feuds, the other ope'd her womb ; 
Rocks inaccessible a passage know, 
And men innured to arms address the plough. 

No less surprising was the daring scheme 
That fixed my station on this rapid stream. 
The north and south rejoice to see me stand, 
Uniting in my function, hand to hand, 
Commerce and concord life of every land. 

But who could force rough nature thus to ply, 
Becalm the torrents, and make rocks to fly ? 
What art, what temper, and what manly toil 
Could smooth the rudest sons of Britain's isle ? 

Methinks the reader's anxious till he is told 
That Wade was skilful and that Wade was bold. 
Thus shall his name for Britain's glory rise 
Till sun and moon shall tumble from the skies." 

It must be confessed there is more than mouthing here ; 


the eccentric chief of Clan Donnochie (Robertsons) had a 
great deal of common sense, and rejoiced, though a zealous 
Jacobite, at the prospect opened up to his loved and dis- 
tracted fatherland. The opening up of a market for the fir- 
wood of Rannoch was also an arrangement touching him 
personally. From this source he drew considerable sums 
during the remainder of his life. 

The following extract of " Lybell of Mod. and Locality 
Mr. Fergus Ferguson Agt. the Heritors of Fortingall and 
Killiechonan, 1727," affords an authentic glimpse of the 
social condition of the people and state of the country at the 
beginning of the eighteenth century. The parish of Fortin- 
gall was just like its neighbours, so that it may be taken as 
a fair description of most Highland parishes at that time : 

" George, &c. Forasmuchas it is humbly meant and shown to us 
by our lovitt, Mr. Fergus Ferguson, minr. of the Gospell at the united 
paroches of ftortingall and Killiechonen, Moderator of the Presbitry of 
Dunkeld, and Mr. John Dundas of Philypston, advocate, procurator 
for the Church of Scotland, that the forsaid united Parishes are of 
a very Large Extent, the one Extreme part thereof, from the Church 
of ffortingall where the minr's manse is, to the outmost parts of the 
lands of Balfracks, is five miles due east ; the oyr Extreme is the 
head of Glenlyon, which from the said Kirk is Distant ten miles west : 
The united Parish of Killiechonen is Distant from that of ffortingall 
seventeen miles North-west ; and it being customary for people there 
to goe to the Shealls both in summar and winter, at that time the 
people of Glenlyon are about twenty miles from the Church of ffortin- 
gall, and those of Ranoch twelve miles from the Kirk of Killiechonen. 
In the forsaid united parishes there are four places for publick wor- 
ship viz., at Breano in Glenlyon, Eight miles west from the Church 
of ffortingall, and Kinloch-Ranoch, Eight miles and ane half from the 
parish Church, and Killiechonen thirteen miles and ane half from the 
parish Church which places the minr. supplys by preaching Services 
both summar and winter. Then betwixt the Kirk of ffortingall and 
Killiechonen there is a long tract of hills, and through the parish 


diverse impetuous Rivers viz., Tay, Lyon, and the River that Flows 
out of Loch Rannoch, besides several oyrs Burns ; which hills, Burns, 
and waters are often impassable, and mostly it is so in the winter. 
In the forsaid parishes there are about three thousand Examinable 
persons, all which occasion great trouble, ffatigue, and Charges to the 
minister in travelling through that vast bounds, preaching, visiting, 
Baptising, and Catechising : And though there be a sufficiencie of 
fund in the forsaid parishes for stipends to two minrs, the rentall 
thereof being Ten Thousand nine hundred fifty one pound Eight 
shillings, and fourty bolls of victual, according to a rentall thereof, 
which is as ffolows viz., The Lands of Struan and oyrs, which per- 
tained to the Deceast Alexander Robertson of Struan, fifteen hundred 
sixty-six pounds ; The Lands of Slismin and oyrs, which pertained to 
Sir Robert Menzies of Weems, sixteen hundred and sixteen pounds ; 
The lands of Innerhadden and oyrs, pertaining to his Grace James, 
Duke of Athole, wadsett to Mr. Duncan Stewart, Two hundred pounds 
Scots ; The two-merk land of Dalichosine in Bunrannoch, pertaining 
to the forsaid Duke, one hundred merks ; The lands of Lassentulloch, 
Temper, and Tullochcrosk, wadsett by the lorsaid Duke to James 
Stewart in Donnaphuil, Three hundred six pound thirteen shillings 
four pennies ; The lands in Glenlyon and oyrs, pertaining to James 
Menzies of Culdairs, Two thousand two hundred twenty-five pound 
one shilling four pennies ; Easter More and Kenknock, belonging to 
Angus M'Donalds, Elder and younger of Kenknock, four hundred 
merks ; The west end of ffortingall and oyrs, pertaining to John 
Campbell of Glenlyon, nine hundred sixty pound and six bolls bear, 
and for his lands of Glenlyon one thousand merks ; The lands of 

and oyrs, pertaining to William Stewart of Drumchary, ffive 

hundred pound ; The lands of Easter end of ffortingall, belonging to 
Lord George Murray of Garth, seven hundred seventy seven pound 
thirteen shillings four pennies ; Duneaves, Moncrieff, and oyrs, per- 
taining to John Campbell of Duneaves, one Thousand pound ; The 
lands of Baelfrack and oyrs, pertaining to James Menzies of Bale- 
fracks, one Thousand pound ; and the lands of Lagancailtie and 
oyrs, belonging to Captain James Menzies of Cernenie, Twenty-eight 
bolls victual : And that by diverse Acts of Parliament it is ordained 
that minrs. of the Gospell be provided in competent Stipends, with a 
fund for furnishing communion Elements, yet nevertheless the minr. 
of the forsaid parishes hath no Decreet for the same, and the use & 


wont is only about five hundred merks yearly and the payment thereof 
very uncertain, it being collected from house to house in small quan- 
tities : And therefore," &c. c. 

In the parish of Fortingall, during the space of 129 years, 
property has changed hands to a great extent as the follow- 
ing table will show : 

Estates. Proprietors, 1727, Proprietors, 1856. 

Struan, Robertson. .. Robertson. 

Slismin, Menzies Menzies. 

Innerhadden, Athole Stewart. 

Dalchosnie, Athole Sir J. W. M'Donald. 

Lassentulloch, Athole Stewart. 

Tullochcrosk, Athole M'Donald of St. Martins. 

Fortingall, Campbell .... Garden of Troup. 

Drumcharry, Stewart M'Donald of St. Martins. 

Meggernie, Menzies Menzies. 

Chesthill, Campbell Menzies. 

Garth, Murray M'Donald of St. Martins. 

Duneaves, Campbell Breadalbane. 

Moncrieff (or Culdares),Campbell Menzies. 

Bolfracks, Menzies Breadalbane. 

Lagan, Menzies Breadalbane. 

There is a considerable decrease in the population. If 
to the three thousand examinable persons that is, persons 
above 14 years of age we add one-fifth for children, the 
population in 1727 would be 3,600. The census popula- 
tion of 1851 was 2,485, showing a decrease of 1,1 15, and yet 
the parish of Fortingall has not been cleared like some of its 
neighbours. In 1727 the upland parts of the parish were 
reserved for sheilings. These are now large sheep farms. 
At the above date, as much as possible was made of the 
lower grounds in the way of cultivation. The arable ground 
was laid out in two divisions ; the more fertile, or infield, 
being under crop yearly, while the inferior division, or out- 


field, was only laid under crop occasionally being in the 
interval under grass, and the folds placed on it for the 
purpose of manuring. Taking the whole under regular and 
occasional cultivation, the arable acreage at the beginning 
of the eighteenth century might be one-third more than it 
is at present. Not many sheep were kept, and they were 
regularly housed in winter. The herds were the great source 
of wealth ; and in hard summers, when meal was scarce, their 
milk and blood constituted the principal means of subsist- 
ence. If the winter was not very severe, the young cattle 
were kept on the grazings till February, and herds of small 
Highland ponies were not housed at all. In a good spring 
the cattle were driven to the sheilings for a few weeks, to 
give the grass on the lower ground time to grow, and then 
taken home. June was the time for the second and more 
universal flitting. The young women and children, and a 
few old men to keep all in order, accompanied the herds ; 
most of the matrons and grown-up males remained at home 
for the harvest work. It was a happy day of bustle and 
anticipation that for setting out to the sheilings. The old 
men and boys, driving the cattle, went first. The girls 
followed guiding or leading horses, laden with their house- 
hold goods churns, cheese-presses, crocks, dairy utensils 
of all shapes and sizes, but mostly all of one material, 
' birchwood pots, crooks, small bags of meal, and old hose 
metamorphosed into salt-cellars in short, the whole house- 
hold goods and gear of the mountain hut, and that was not 
bulky, for one horse carried it, and perhaps on the top of 
all the presiding deity, the laughing maid, with ribbon 
or snood round her long twining tresses, who proudly 
anticipates her temporary rule over beast and man, and 


the joyful greeting from friends in the neighbouring 

The younger portion of the community did always, in- 
deed, look forward to these annual migrations with the 
greatest pleasure. It was something to be thrown on their 
own resources, to be left to wander day by day through the 
lonely mountains, and with minds imbued with deep senti- 
ments and poetic superstitions, to meet and contemplate 
the sublimity and loveliness of nature amidst her solitudes. 
Fishing and fowling afforded an unlimited field for exercise 
and amusement ; for then, beyond the precincts of the 
forest, game laws were unknown ; grouse, hares, &c., had 
not yet come to be considered a part or accident of pro- 
perty. And when all gathered in the evening about the 
huts clustered on the side of the burn, when the calves were 
in the fold, and the cows turned back to the brae, the harper 
produced the Clarshach, and the gay-hearted tenants of the 
Riddhe turned out to dance on the green, or mayhap the 
grey-headed Senachie, as the shadows of night deepened, 
and shrouded the cliff and corrie, recounted to them tragic 
stories of disappointed love and terrible revenge, or tales of 
the fairies and of perturbed spirits that walked the earth for 
their sins. 

The extract already given shows one minister could 
scarcely labour very successfully in religious matters in 
such a wide district. Well, I am sorry to confess, religion, 
as now the word is understood, had then very little hold over 
some of the parishioners of Fortingall. An attendance at the 
parish church on the great festival days, and an observance 
in private of a few superstitious rites some derived from 
Rome, some from Druidism constituted almost the sum 


total of their religion. The memoirs of Dugald Buchanan 
tell how the Rannoch people met on the Sundays to play 
at football, &c., and the rest of the parish was not much 
better. Buchanan brought about in Rannoch a great social 
reform, in regard at least to the observance of the Sabbath, 
and outward duties of religion. M'Arthur, a man of similar 
character and profession, laboured contemporaneously for 
the same end in Glenlyon. Attaching himself to the young, 
as the more susceptible of improvement, he followed them 
to the sheilings, and carried on his Bible teaching there. 
On the sheep farm of Lochs, formerly the sheilings of the 
district of Roro, a conical hillock, rising from a level boggy 
plain, erects itself like a sentinel over the neighbouring 
land and water, at the east end of Loch Daimdhe. Here 
M'Arthur congregated his untutored hearers, and translated 
for them, each Sunday, a chapter of the Bible, and a piece 
of Matthew Henry's Commentary for the Irish Bibles of 
1690 were possessed and understood but by few, and 
Stewart of Killin had not yet finished his Gaelic translation. 
Let me ask, in parenthesis, how could the Highlanders 
have been so unmindful of the minister of Killin's claims 
on their gratitude ? No memorial of their love and reve- 
rence, not even the rudest, marks his final resting-place in 
the churchyard of Killin ; yet he was the first man who 
gave them the Word of God in their own language. It 
was through his unrequited labours that the Government 
and Church were, after many fruitless efforts, successful in 
civilising and Christianising the Highlands and isles. In 
honouring him, they would honour themselves, and the 
priceless legacy he bequeathed them and their children. 
James Stewart, as much as, perhaps more than, any bard 


warrior, or philosopher, was the benefactor of his race. 
Shall it always be said that he sleeps in the grave, into which 
he had sunk wearied and impoverished by his stupendous work, 
uncared for and unhonoured by the people whom his labours 
helped to enroll in the catalogue of fervent Christians ? 

To return to M 'Arthur: he and his hearers were on a cer- 
tain Sabbath disturbed amidst their devotions by the yelling 
of the dogs, which, having accompanied their owners to the 
religious exercise, and not feeling so edified as the bipeds, 
had gone on a little excursion of their own, and had started 
a deer in a neighbouring den, and thereby caused the sud- 
den clamour. The deer meeting the hillock congregation 
in front, and the dogs following behind, took the water 
near the spot where they were assembled. Notwithstand- 
ing M 'Arthur's entreaties, his hearers in a moment changed 
into keen huntsmen, and dispersed at the top of their speed 
for the different places where the stag was thought likely to 
land. The issue of the sport was unsuccessful. One man 
threw his axe at the deer's head, when swimming to the 
shore, but missed, and the axe sank into the lake. On 
this, some of the more pious began to suggest it was the 
devil in deer's likeness, that came to interrupt their devo- 
tions ; but the hero of the axe protested, declaring, " devil 
or no devil, it was, notwithstanding, a fat stag of ten, and 
I would have killed him were he a devil ever so much, if 
I had another axe." Though things of this sort did hap- 
pen at times, M' Arthur's efforts bore much fruit, and his 
memory was for a long time religiously revered. Here 
is another anecdote of the same description. A Glen- 
lyon woman who died 40 or 50 years ago, when nearly 
a 100 years of age, in telling her sheiling experience, used 


to add, to the horror of her more pious descendants, " Fionn- 
aghleann mo chridhe thar nach bidhe Di-domhnuich " i.e. 
" Finglen of my heart, where there would be no Sunday." 
Finglen, or the " Glen of the Feinne," was a shelling in the 
Braes of Glenlyon, adjoining the old royal forest of Ben- 
taskerly, or, as then called, Coirecheathaich. The foresters, 
sometime before the year 1740, built a hut on the march over- 
looking Finglen, and there watched the cattle and pounded 
them when trespassing. The sheiling maidens, after two or 
three exploits of this kind on the part of their neighbours, 
got exasperated, and formed the doughty resolution of 
pulling their hut about the foresters' ears, and making them 
decamp mstanter. A Sunday, of all days in the week, was 
chosen, because most of the foresters were then absent. The 
furious maidens carried the fortress of turf by a coup-de-mam ^ 
pelted the foresters present to perfection, and left not a 
stone or rather a turf standing on the other. The foresters 
were so ungallant as to make a formal complaint to the 
Earl of Breadalbane, and he put the machinery of legal 
punishment in motion. It was easily done at that time. 
Sir Duncan Cameron with Lochnell's company of the Black 
Watch was then guarding the peace of the district, and a 
detachment of it pounced upon the Amazons, hurried them 
to Perth, bare headed and bare footed as they stood, and 
clapped them into jail. They were tried, but got off 
with flying colours. Their landlord, James Menzies 
of Culdares, like a true Highlander, attended court to see 
justice done ; he became security for their future good be- 
haviour ; and when they were liberated he placed himself 
and his piper at their head and marched through Perth to 
the defiant strains of 


" Gabhaidh mise'n rathad mor, 

Olc, air mhath le each e. " 
" On the road I go ; on the road I go ; 
Where'er I like I'll go, 
Be others pleased or no." 

This was the occasion of beginning a lawsuit about bounds 
which nearly ruined the heir of the Crowner. 

But though the Highlanders were, as shown, careless about 
religion, the kirk-session at that date exercised an import- 
ant jurisdiction over the whole field of morals, trenching 
much, indeed, upon what now exclusively belongs to the 
civil courts. Of all judicatories it was the most respected 
and best obeyed ; for the Highlanders, remiss and careless 
in other matter, set great store by the ordinances of bap- 
tism and communion ; and the cutty-stool and sackcloth 
gown were much more dreaded in 1700 than the threats of 
the law and " tout " of the royal horn. Seeing there were 
few restrictions on the intercourse of the sexes, and consider- 
ing the oblique idea they had of some other moral duties, 
it is astonishing to find how little the evil of illegitimacy 
prevailed ; and it is mortifying to think that the snood and 
poetry of 1700 were far more efficient in guarding the 
stream of domestic affection pure and undefiled, than the 
boasted knowledge and gospel light of 1856. " Love strong 
as death, pure as the mountain spring," was the theme of 
poet and senachie. The loss of the snood, the emblem of 
maidenhood, carried in itself a sentence of social ostracism. 

A frail one of the better class, who went astray with a 
man below her station, was the cause of a tragic catastrophe 
in the preceding century (1640 or thereabouts), which legend 
and song yet conspire to keep in memory. She was a 

daughter of Campbell of Lawers, and fell in love with 



her father's harper or fiddler. Her degradation became 
known to the family. Her brothers watched and caught 
her and her swain together in a sheiling on the side of 
Benlawers. The fiddler run for sweet life, with the infuri- 
ated youths at his heels. When making a desperate leap 
over a rock, he fell and broke his leg. The avengers of 
family honour were upon him, and barbarously maltreated 
him. The reel tune commemorating the circumstance is 
well known to the lovers of Highland music "Nighean 
Tighearna Labhair," &c. 


T3 EFORE returning to the Campbells, I may be allowed, 
-D because of their place in local story, to devote a short 
space to Robertson of Struan and the McGregors of Roro. 
Their wild tragic story makes the McGregors stand out the 
conspicuous heroes of romance and song. Besides, the 
history of this branch, not the least remarkable of the " three 
houses " into which persecution had broken the clan, is, I 
believe, far less familiarly known than that of the others. 
As for Struan, the erring, chivalrous, poetic chief of Clan- 
Donnachie, of all the old lairds he was the popular favourite, 
and the supposed prototype of the " Baron of Bradwardine " 
must be an object of interest to the admirers and who are 
not ? of the tale of Waverley. 

" Duncan the Fat," if the traditions of the Robertsons 
are to be believed, was a descendant of Angus Mor, Lord of 
the Isles. He was the contemporary and fellow-in-arms of 
Robert Bruce. From him, as their founder, the clan as- 
sumed the name of Clan-Donnachie or Duncansons. 
Antiquaries deny the traditional genealogy from the 
MacDonalds, and prove, indeed, from ancient charters 
and the term " de Atholia," "of Athole "uniformly 
ascribed in old writings to the heads of the family that 
they were the male representatives of the ancient Earls of 
Athole a genealogy which would carry them back to 
Crinan Abbot of Dunkeld,and the stem from which branched 


so many kings and princes. The clan took the name of 
Robertson from Robert, great-grandson of Duncan the Fat, 
who helped to capture and bring to justice Graham and the 
Master of Athole, both participators in the murder of James 
I. The property of the Struans, of large extent under 
Duncan the Fat, gradually decreased ; but the influence of 
the family remained fixed ; for the antiquity of the race, 
and the readiness with which the successive chiefs of Clan- 
Donnachie emulated the deeds of their ancestors be it for 
good or evil recommended them to the love and allegiance 
of the lawless Highlanders. In 1715 the chief of Struan 
could raise 800 men. 

During the wars of Montrose, the Robertsons had per- 
formed the part of brave, dutiful, and devoted subjects, for 
which they were formally thanked by Charles II. in a letter 
under his own hands, dated Chantilly, 1655. 

On the breaking out of the Revolution of 1688, our hero 
Alexander Robertson, then a young man, was at the head 
of the clan. He had lately succeeded his father, who also 
bore the name of Alexander, in the leadership. Nurtured 
in the highest ideas of loyalty, and inflamed with the 
renown his uncle and father acquired in the service of 
Charles, he joined Dundee at once, and is said to have 
been a principal instigator in making Stewart of Ballechin 
seize the Castle of Blair, and fortify it for King James. 
Lord Murray, who espoused the side of King William, 
attempted in vain to get possession of his father's castle, 
and was equally unsuccessful in restraining the Atholemen 
from following Dundee. Struan fought under Dundee at 
Killiecrankie, and shared in every attempt of the Jacobites 
until the Battle of Dunkeld. The Highlanders then, as 


is well known, infuriated at the incapacity of Caiman, and 
despairing of being able longer to keep the field, resolved 
to disperse. They first, however, entered into a bond of 
association for supporting King James and protecting one 
another. Struan, with characteristic impetuosity, was the 
first to sign this document, which is in the following 
terms : 

We, Lord James Murray, Patrick Stewart of Ballechan, Sir John 
M'Lean, Sir Donald M 'Donald, Sir Ewen Cameron, Glengarie, 
Benbecula, Sir Alexander M'Lean, Appin, Enveray, Keppoch, 
Glencoe, Strowan, Calochele, Lieut-Col. M'Gregor, Bara, Large, 
M'Naughton, do hereby bind and oblige ourselves, for his Majesty's 

service and our safeties, to meet at , the day of September 

next, and bring along with us fencible men. That is to say, 

Lord James Murray and Ballechan, ; Sir John M'Lean, 200 ; 

Sir Donald M 'Donald, 200 ; Sir Ewen Cameron, 200 ; Glengarie, 200 ; 
Benbecula, 200 ; Sir Alexander M'Lean, 100 ; Appin, 100 ; Enveray, 
loo ; Keppoch, 100 ; Lieut-Col. McGregor, 100 ; Calochele, 50 ; 
Strowan, 60 ; Bara, 50 ; M'Naughtan, 50 ; Large, 50. But in case 
any of the rebels shall assault or attack any of the above-named 
persons betwixt the date hereof and the said day of rendezvous, we do 
all solemnly promise to assist one another to the utmost of our power. 
As witness these presents signed by us at the Castle of Blair the 24th 
of August, 1689 years. (Signed) Al. Robertson ; D. M'Neil ; Alex. 
M'Donald ; do. M'Gregor ; Alex. M'Donel ; D. M'Donatd; D. M'D. 
of Benbecula ; Al. M'Donald; Tho. Farqrson ; Jo. M'Leane ; E. 
Cameron of Lochiel ; Al. Stuart. 

They never met again. Mackay came, soon after this, 
to Blair. Struan was taken prisoner by him, or by the 
garrison he left there, and sent to Edinburgh. Fortunately 
for him, Struan found a true and powerful friend in the 
Earl of Argyle, who stood by him in this emergency. When 
the unfortunate expedition of Argyle and Monmouth took 
place in 1685, all the adjacent clans, with the exception of 
the Robertsons, obeyed the orders of the Privy-Council in 


taking arms against the Campbells. Struan's father asked 
and obtained leave to stay at home, and preserve the 
country from thefts and depredations. From some old 
kindnesses he was unwilling to join in crushing Argyle ; 
and when the bubble burst, he is said to have afforded 
refuge and means of escape to some members of Argyle's 
family. No sooner, therefore, was Struan imprisoned 
than the heir of the unfortunate Earl stood forth as his 
protector. He procured his being set at liberty out of the 
Tolbooth of Edinburgh on parole, and afterwards got him 
exchanged as a prisoner of war for Sir Robert Pollock, who 
was taken by Dundee at the commencement of hostilities, 
and afterwards retained a prisoner in Mull. Struan had full 
liberty to join his unfortunate Master wherever he could 
find him, and he accordingly went to France, and remained 
at St. Germains, as it would appear, until the death of 
James. Peculiarly accessible to every generous emotion, he 
commemorates his escape in a short poem, which he styles 


" Sure we remember how, in days of yore, 
When fawning chiefs oppressed Macaillein-Voir, 
And fraudfully brought on his hasty fall 
Clan-Donnoch's fairer chief forsook them all : 
He nobly waved to lend his helping hand 
To what he thought too rigid a command, 
And ventured rather to displease the King 
Than meanly bend to an unmanly thing. 
This deed of worth remained not long unpaid, 
But the foundation of strong friendship laid. 
Clan-Donnoch's heir, while yet in early bloom, 
Moved by some dictates of too subtle Rome, 
By Argethalian power was kindly freed 
From hostile bondage and forbad to bleed. 


Thus generous actions and a grateful mind, 
By mutual impulse mutually inclined, 
Alternately beget each others' kind. 
O ! may this plighted ardour still remain 
Fixed without change, and fair without a stain." 

The estate was forfeited, but Argyle obtained a grant 
of it for the family, in trust, as it was understood, for 

The Government watched the Robertsons, they were so 
unruly as to need it, and for some years after, Struan's 
step-mother required to get security for the good behaviour 
of his younger brother, as the following paper shows : 

Be it knowne to all men be thir present Letters, me, Alexander 
Robertsone, Baillie in Perth, fforasmeikleas John Campbell of Glen- 
lyon has, at my earnest desyre and requeist, become catione and 
security for Labarrowes, acted in the books of Counsell and Session, 
for Duncan Robertsone, second lawfull son to the deceist Alexander 
Robertsone of Strowan, Donald Robertsone his servitor, Donald More 
M'Keissock in Gary, and John Caanoch, servitor to the said Duncan 
Robertsone : that Marion Baillie, relict of the said deceist Alexander 
Robertsone, her tennents, cottars, servants, and oyrs, shall be harmless 
and skaithless in yer bodies, lands, heritadges, and others, from each 
of the fornamed persons, under the pain of four hundred merks Scots 
moy. Therefor witt ye me to be bund and obleidged, as I, be thir 
presents, bind and obleidge me, my airs, successors, & executors, to 
warrand, freily releive, & skaithless keep the said John Campbell of 
his cationrie abovewritten, and of all coast, skaith, damadge, interest, 
or expenses, he shall happen to sustain or incur through his being 
securitie for the forenamed persons, or oyr of them, any manner of 
way, or in any sort. And I consent that this be insert and regrate in 
the books of Counsel and Session, &c. In witness yiof, I have sub- 
scribed thir presents at Edinr. the eight day of March, ane thousand 
seven hundred years, before thir witnesses James Drummond, wryter 
in Edinburgh, and John Hodge, his servitor. 

Jas. Drummond, witness. A. ROBERTSONE. 

Jo. Hodge, witness. 


It appears the step-mother of Struan was unworthy of 
the trust reposed in her by the deceased chief. Some years 
after Struan went into exile, she made a degrading mar- 
riage with her former husband's harper. This harper was 
also a Robertson, and I believe his race are still called "clann- 
a-chlarschair." The clan took this step in deep dudgeon, 
and young Duncan, with a few headstrong followers, 
entered into very illegal plans for depriving her of all 
means and authority wherefore the above. As for Struan, 
when he heard it in France, he vowed he would never 
marry, and kept the vow religiously to the end of his life. 
His poems afford abundant evidence that he had but a very 
low opinion of the sex in general a result which, however, 
the licentious morals of France under Louis XIV. and the 
Regent Orleans, and the gay reckless characters with whom 
he associafed in that country, may have had as much con- 
tributed to bring about as the defection of his step-mother. 

Struan amused himself in exile by satirising the deeds 
and characters of William and his ministers. The staunch 
believer in the divine right of kings considered the use of 
the most scurrilous epithets justifiable, if not meritorious, 
towards the " usurper " William. However amusing and 
agreeable to the Court of St. Germains his poetic efforts 
in this line might have been, his gems of rough -and 
ready wit lie too often deeply bedded in terms and senti- 
ments abhorred by an age of greater propriety for being 
acceptable now. The following, written a few years after 
his arrival in France, will bear being quoted : 


" I love to rehearse, 
In dutiful verse, 


The joys our deliverer gave us, 

When he wafted ashore 

Three thousand and more 
Of Papists from Popery to save us. 

Such prudence he had, 

Or of good or of bad, 
To cherish the party prevailing ; 

And for thought of the throne 

Declared he had none, 
As was honestly seen by his dealings. 

Yet he set off the King, 
That impertinent thing 
That is called the Almighty's Anointed, 
Whose begetting a son 
Was unmannerly done, 
Since Orange's nose it disjointed. 

His love to the Dutch, 

His country, was such 
That he thought us too happily stated ; 

So our ills to restrain, 

Crossed over the main 
Our commerce and lion he translated. 

Our Church cannot fear 

His fatherly care 
We see how his prelates have voted, 

That in they may foist 

The Apostates of Christ, 
And divines like themselves be promoted. 

His sanctified rage 

Reforms the lewd age 
In spite of the wicked's aspersion ; 

For with hand and with tongue 

He's reclaiming the young 
From ways that are virtue's aversion. 

His conscience inclines 
To caress the divines 
Who degrade his dear Son from his station ; 


For except his dear self, 
Since we're drained of our pelf, 
They have left ne'er a God in the nation. 

Such tenets as these 

Must certainly please, 
To abolish religion and goodness ; 

For if faith comes about 

Then murder will out, 
And adieu usurpation and lewdness.'' 

Never had an unfortunate Prince been so deserted in his 
utmost need by all who were bound by oath, gratitude, and 
natural affection, to support him, as James II. on the 
landing of the Prince of Orange. Nobles, churchmen, 
soldiers, fled from him as if he had the plague. Lord Churc- 
hill (afterwards the celebrated Duke of Marlborough), who 
had been raised by James from the rank of a page to a high 
command in the army and a place in the peerage, not only 
deserted his benefactor, but, by means of his lady the 
notorious Sarah induced the Princess Anne, and her 
husband George of Denmark, to go also over to the rebel 
camp. Struan ridicules the universal fickleness with much 
smartness and jovial humour in a song which he calls 


" The wheel of life turns whimsically round, 
And nothing in this world of constancy is found ; 
No principle, no tie, in either Church or State, 
But interest overrules : such is the will of fate. 

The churchman, who in faith should be refined. 
The weather- cock does blame, that wheels with every wind : 
Yet touch him with your coin, and you shall quickly see 
The needle to the pole wheels not so fast as he ! 

The lawyer swears he is sure your cause is just, 

And bids you, with a smile, on him repose your trust ; 


But if a greater fee into his hand they slide, 

He straight begins to doubt, and wheels to t'other side. 

The soldier who with honour is replete, 
By solemn oath is bound to serve the King and State ; 
But if contending, two pretenders come in play, 
He wheels about to him that gives the greater pay. 

The courtier turns, to gain his private ends, 
Till he so giddy grown, he quite forgets his friends : 
Prosperity of time deceives the proud and vain, 
It wheels them in so fast, it wheels them out again. 

Thus all mankind on fortune's wheel do go, 
And as some mount on high, some others tumble low ; 
From whence we all agree, tho' many think it strange, 
No sublunary thing can live without a change. 

Then fill about a bumper to the brim, 
Till all repeat it round, and every noddle swim ! 
How pleasing is the charm that makes our table reel, 
And all around it laugh at Fortune at her wheel ! " 


A PROCLAMATION of indemnity being published by 
Queen Anne in March, 1703, in favour of all who had 
borne arms against Government since 1688, most of the Jaco- 
bites in France then came home. Struan returned with the 
rest. He quietly took possession of his property, as if no 
forfeiture had taken place. Now his own master, and the 
independent chief of several hundred devoted adherents, he 
began with enthusiasm to form plans for the beautifying 
and improving of his estate, in the prosecution of which 
he exhibited a great deal of sound common-sense, mingled 
with the taste acquired in France, and with not a little of 
his own natural oddity of character. The fir woods were 
turned to account, and good regulations laid down for the 
proper grazing and cultivation of the ground. But the 
favourite creation of Struan's taste was the Hermitage of 
Mount Alexander. Choosing the bold bluff mound, stand- 
ing, sentinel-like, at the entrance of Rannoch for a site, 
he placed his nest on the top, and ornamented and 
planted all round, as he himself styles it, " A la mode de 
France." From this sanctuary woman was strictly ex- 
cluded. He was exclusively served by male attendants, 
and the company invited to his jovial bachelor feasts were, 
without exception, of the same sex. To his servants he 
was a kind and indulgent master. This was the advice he 
gave one of them when entering upon his employment : 


" You are a stranger, and I'll tell you the sort of master 
you have got. I'll make you serve me right. I'm dread- 
fully hasty, too, and shall scold you at times without rhyme 
or reason. When I'm angry, I'll not bear you to be inso- 
lent, nor a dumb dog neither. When you are right and I 
wrong, defend yourself like a man, but do it without im- 
pertinence." Almost every gate and door about the Her- 
mitage bore proofs of Struan's poetical talents. Take for 
example : 


" Turn thee, judicious guest, and relish all 
The various beauties of the globe, in small. 
The power and being of a God you'll trace 
In the contexture of this narrow space." 


" Let no excess in our plain board appear, 
For moderation is the best of cheer. 
Oft-times the man, in meat and drink profuse, 
Frantic or dull, with the bewitching juice, 
Forgets the God that gave it for his use." 


" Here taste a sweet and undisturbed repose, 
A short-lived death t' unbend thy mind from woes. 
Yet be prepared, not knowing but thou'rt bound 
To fetch thy nap till the last trump shall sound." 

But the " Lines over Mount Alexander Gate " were those 
that chiefly provoked the ire of the fair, and called forth 
their poetical castigation : 

"In this small spot whole paradise you'll see, 
With all its plants but the forbidden tree. 
Here every sort of animal you'll find, 
Subdued, but woman who betrayed mankind. 


All kinds of insects, too, their shelter take 
Within these happy groves, except the snake. 
In fine, there's nothing poisonous here enclosed, 
But all is pure as heaven at first disposed. 
Woods, hills, and dales, with milk and corn abound. 
Traveller, pull off thy shoes, 'tis holy ground." 

The jovial, whimsical, warm-hearted Struan was a prime 
favourite with all parties. He was, in fact, a privileged 
person. His known eccentricity, his learning, and poetical 
genius, no less than his extreme sense of honour, and the 
antiquity of his family, endeared him to Whig and Jaco- 
bite, and excused in him those political sallies and prac- 
tices which would consign another to a State prison. 
Struan was no intriguer. He could only think of the 
restoration of his " King " by a bold and chivalrous coup- 
de-main. But though not implicated in the tortuous secret 
checks and counter-checks of parties, he could see by his 
frolicsome eye more than those he came in contact with 
counted upon, and their selfish littleness and fine-spun 
scheming formed a subject for his rough hearty muse 
much oftener than they at all wished. Party-spirit did not 
blind him as much as others either to falsehood or worth. 
The firmest Jacobite in the three kingdoms, he could ridi- 
cule the caballers of St. Germains, and eulogise the Duke 
of Argyle, without affording the least ground of suspicion 
of having turned his coat. 

Struan was suddenly called from his nine years' quiet 
retirement. Anne died ; the Elector of Hanover was pro- 
claimed King of Great Britain ; Mar proclaimed the Cheva- 
lier at Moulinearn these events followed fast upon 
each other. Struan was among the first to join the rebel 
Earl. He had been previously summoned to attend at 


Edinburgh, under the pain of fine and imprisonment, to 
give bail for his allegiance to the existing Government 
From his hostility to the whole race of " wee lairdies," and 
to their chief in special, he was known at this time among 
his Jacobite friends by the nick-name of " Elector." 

Mar thought it of much importance to gain the hearty 
co-operation of the " Elector of Struan." He was anxious 
to humour him himself, and endeavoured to make others 
do so also. At the beginning of the rebellion, Perth was 
seized by the Jacobites of Fife. Colonel Hay, brother to 
the Earl of Kinnoull, was appointed governor of the cap- 
tured city, with very despotic instructions indeed. Alex- 
ander of Struan, with his Robertsons, reinforced Hay by 
order of Mar. In his letter to Hay, Mar thus introduces 
Struan : " You must take care to please the Elector of 
Struan, as they call him. He is an old colonel ; but, as he 
says himself, understands not much of the trade. So he'll 
be ready to be advised by Colonel Balfour and Urquhart. 
As for money, I am not so rife of it as I hope to be soon ; 
but I have sent off the little I have, fifty guineas, by the 
bearer." Struan's enthusiasm was of that infectious kind 
which spread from man to man. His zeal shamed the 
sluggish and inflamed the lukewarm. One of the ways by 
which he dragged half-unwilling recruits to the standard 
of the Chevalier may be seen from the following lines : 


" To retrieve your good name 

And establish your fame 
Dear Goth* let your fiddling alone : 
Tis better to go 

* Struan calls his brother by this nickname very often. 


And fight with the foe 
That keeps royal James from his own." 


" The fatigues of the field 

Small pleasures can yield 
But the silly repute of a Hector ; 

Then at Carie we'll stay, 

And drink every day, 
With the dear little prig, the Elector." 

Such humorous bantering was with Struan a common 
weapon. Duncan Voir did go out to seek the " silly repute 
of a Hector," but got a long imprisonment instead. An- 
other brother was among the slaughtered at Preston. 

At the Battle of Sheriffmuir, Struan, along with Lord 
Strathallan, commanded the centre of Mar's second line. 
The honest laird distinguished himself more by his down- 
right knight-errant bravery than by the talents proper for 
a commander. When the English dragoons reeled before 
the first furious onset of the clans, Struan, it is said, threw 
himself before the lines, and, holding up his purse, shouted 
to one of the retreating foe, " Turn, caitiff, turn ; fight with 
me for money, if not for honour ! " 

The firmness of the Government forces, and the ability 
of their general, though the battle was undecisive enough 
to allow both parties the claim of victory, made such an 
impression upon the insurgents, that many began to despair 
of the issue, and gradually deserted their colours. Struan's 
sanguine nature, roused by actual conflict to the highest 
pitch of enthusiasm, overlooked all obstacles and difficul- 
ties in the way, and fixedly gazed on the expected result, 
the installing of James at Whitehall. The song in which 


he expressed his feelings immediately after the Battle of 
Sheriffmuir will show his sentiments better than anything 
else : 

" Since loyalty is still the same 
Whether it win or lose the game, 
To flinch it were a burning shame 
Since Mar has won a battle : 
Let each brave true-hearted Scot 
Improve the victory he has got, 
Resolving all shall go to pot, 

Or James the Eighth to settle. 

Let those unmanly men who fear, 
With downcast looks, and hanging ears, 
Who think each shadow that appears 

An enemy pursuing 
Let such faint-hearted souls be gone, 
The dangers of the field to shun ; 
We'll make Argyle once more to run, 

And think on what he's doing. 

Can poor Low-country water-rats, 
Withstand our furious mountain-cats, 
The dint of whose well-armed pats 

So fatally confoundeth, 
When many hundred warlike men 
Were so well cut, and so well slain, 
That they can scarce get up again 

When the last trumpet soundeth ? 

Come, here's to the victorious Mar, 
Who bravely first conceived the war, 
And to all those who went so far 

To shake off Union's slavery 
Whose fighting for such noble cause 
As king and liberty and laws, 
Must from their foes even force applause, 

In spite of their own knavery." 

But the affairs of the insurgents were rapidly falling to 



ruin. Few were animated with a spirit similar to Struan's. 
The Chevalier arrived at Perth in January, and made a 
shadowy attempt to assume the insignia and discharge the 
functions of royalty. The presence of the Prince in the 
rebel camp did more harm than good. His pale melan- 
choly face showed no trace of sanguine hope ; and instead 
of using the animating military eloquence of a Montrose 
or Dundee, to rally and encourage his followers, the un- 
happy Chevalier did so preserve that silent deportment 
naturally belonging to him but in present circumstances 
so thoroughly out of place as to provoke the Highlanders 
to ask " if he could speak ? " On the approach of Argyle 
the insurgent camp finally broke up ; and after a few 
weeks' residence in the country, James embarked at 
Dundee for France in the beginning of February, 1716, 
and never returned. After his unmartial conduct on this 
occasion, though cherishing their allegiance to him as a 
religious sentiment, James never thoroughly gained the 
love of the Highlanders for his person in the way his son 
Charles Edward did. After Sheriffmuir, Struan does not 
again mention his name, coupled as formerly with personal 
commendation, but merely as the perpetuator and tempo- 
rary representative of the " sacred blood of anointed kings." 
The disappointment appears to have been universal ; and ? 
indeed, had it been otherwise, Charles' name would not have 
so completely eclipsed that of his royal father in the re- 
bellion of '45 and ever afterwards. The language of official 
documents might be different; but few of the High- 
landers thought at Culloden they were fighting for any 
person or thing other than the Prince and Prince alone. 
Before leaving the country, the Chevalier sent a letter 


to the Duke of Argyle, " desiring him, if not as an obedient 
subject, at least as a lover of his country," to appropriate 
certain sums of money left behind by him, for the purpose 
of repairing, as far as possible, the damages of war. The 
Duke's merciful order, to " spare the poor blue bonnets " 
at Sheriffcnuir, sank deep into the grateful hearts of the 
rebels, and his manly talents and known integrity pointed 
him out to all but to the Germanised London Government 
as the fittest person for settling the troubles following the 
rebellion. Struan's lines to the Duke on the same occasion 
are creditable to both : 

" By gentle means mankind is formed to good, 
Virtue's inculcated, and vice subdued : 
The tender patriot's mildness oft prevails 
When the tumultuous warrior's fury fails. 
This Scotia saw, when, by your milder art, 
You gained th' applause and love of every heart. 
Th' unconquerable clans, when you engage, 
Bold to perform, as in your counsel sage, 
Submit their interests, and dismiss their rage. 
Safe on your word, they fear no treacherous foe, 
No breach of public faith, no Preston, no Glencoe." 

Struan and the Laird of Glenlyon accompanied their 
Prince to France. The estate was a second time forfeited. 
Struan continued in exile until 1724 or thereabouts. 
During his exile, war broke out between Great Britain and 
Spain. Cardinal Alberoni formed a scheme for distracting 
the efforts of England, by fitting out an expedition for 
supporting the pretensions of James. The conducting ot 
this expedition was entrusted to Ormond. The Regent 
Orleans sided with King George. Attempts were made to 
engage the famous Duke of Berwick, natural son of James 


II., now a Marshal of France, in this expedition. In the 
eyes of Struan, Berwick was clearly the man of the age ; 
he introduces his name as often as he can, and always 
associated with praise. With great respect, tempered with 
a little disappointed bitterness, he expostulates with the 
Duke about the Ormond expedition, and counsels him 
directly to desert France and fly to Spain. It would ap- 
pear that Struan obtained, for the second time, pardon 
from Government, through the intercession of the Dukes 
of Argyle and Albemarle. In 1723, the estate was granted 
to Struan 's sister, which grant she, according, as it would 
seem, to a previous arrangement, transferred to trustees 
for her brother in liferent, and in reversion to the next 
heir-male of the family. 


r I ^HE failure of the efforts to replace the Stuarts on the 
A throne of Britain was so signal as to make it evident 
to Struan's strong common-sense, that the struggle in present 
circumstances, and probably for the future too, was nearly 
hopeless. He appeared so far reconciled to the Brunswick 
dynasty as to be willing to lead a peaceable life under the 
shadow of the legal Government, keeping his allegiance to 
the Stuarts like the private worship of the household gods. 
Marshal Wade was a fast friend of Struan ; but being 
invited to a ball given by the Marshal at Weem, Struan, 
according to Highland custom, having insisted on paying 
a part of the " lawing," so affronted the Englishman that 
he for a time lost his favour, and was also, what he liked 
better, in danger of being " called out." Struan, without 
a plack in his purse, v/ould, like Caleb Balderston, have 
considered it a degradation not in all things to keep up the 
honour of the house, and show everybody he was chief of 
Clan-Donnachie a potentate, in his opinion, differing from 
the Grand Monarque only in degree. His long residence 
in France had habituated Struan to the strict feudalism of 
that country, and the natural result was to make him, 
speculatively, the imitator of the petty, arrogant, despotic 
French seigneur ; while his warm heart and clannish pride 
counteracted the evil, and made him, practically, the 


kindest and most affectionate of chiefs. He evidently con- 
sidered himself a higher sort of individual than his followers 
in fact, a being made of different clay. From him we 
never hear of the Robertsons and their deeds, but of the 
Chief of the Robertsons and his deeds, and this not so much 
from personal vanity of which, however, he had a full 
allowance but for the " credit of the house/* he himself 
being the house for the time. The king accountable to 
God, the noble accountable to God and the king (perhaps, 
in fact, the latter should be first), the noble's vassal account- 
able to all the higher powers and so on ; the chains of 
authority duly increasing and tightening, to keep that beast, 
the multitude, properly tied down : such was, legitimately, 
the plan of government anxiously desired by the Stuarts, 
acted upon by Louis le Grand, and worshipped by Struan. 
Were the perfection of the Supreme to be found in the 
delegates, no objection could be made to it ; and though, 
wanting that, it was perfectly absurd, yet it produced some 
good fruits ; for the higher classes, affecting a character 
superior to their fellows, ended partly in really attaining it ; 
and Montesquieu not inaptly reckons " Honour " the ruling 
principle of a government built on that idea. The grotesque 
contrast between Struan's acquired feudalism and the 
natural family affectionateness of the Highland chief to 
his followers comes out so strongly in his " Epitaph on his 
Servant," that it would have been capital burlesque had it 
not been nearly blasphemous : 

" Poor honest Dunky sleeps beneath this stone 
'Till Heaven awakes him to the Judgment Throne ; 
From whence he needs not fear a dire decree, 
For want of faith to God his king or me. 


Tho' poor, to mean and servile arts inclined, 

No gain could taint his probity of mind. 

No prince, no priest, a cleanlier heart could show 

With this great odds, that what he said was true. 

For such a loss, the Eternal, unsevere 
To human frailty, well permits a tear." 

His " Epitaph on Himself " displays the same arrogant 
claims of superiority, and the unstinted laudation of self 
so natural in the " Lord of the Barony of Struan " and 
"The Chief of Clan-Donnachie " a being above others by 
charter royal, a being whose pre-eminence of blood was 
recognised by 800 devoted subjects a being, too, who was 
fully aware of the double honour of being head of the house 
and lord of the barony. Here is a part of the " Epitaph " : 

" Tenacious of his faith to aid the cause 
Of Heaven's Anointed and his country's laws, 
Thrice he engaged, and thrice, with Stuart's race, 
He failed ; but ne'er complied with foul disgrace. 
Tho' some, despising Heaven's most sacred ties, 
Perjured for interest, acquiesced to lies, 
Clan-Donnoch's Chief maintained his reputation 
And scorned to flourish in an usurpation. 
Lo ! here his mortal part reposing lies, 
Hoping once more the living man shall rise, 
When the same pow'r breathes in the part that never dies. 

There is nothing dignifies so much this dust, 
As that, like God, he aimed at being just" 

Struan was disposed sometimes to exert his rights of 
lordship in a manner not generally practised at that time 
in the Highlands. He would, for instance, threaten to 
carry any reforms he meditated into effect without caring 
much for the partialities of the clan, and indeed leave no 


choice at all to the " vassal." His plans were, to his honour, 
proposed for their good, not his. Extensive reading, 
travelling, experience, and good sense, placed him a cen- 
tury at least in advance of his age. He had talents and 
desire for being a reformer, but lacked the sternness and 
perseverance that would really make him such. A whine 
of distress, a tale of woe, would make him at once abandon 
his best laid scheme. To masterful spoilation to thieving 
in all its forms, the common vice of his age and country 
he always pronounced himself an uncompromising foe, 
Still, by playing on his weakness, the depredators made him 
a sort of chief and protector for them. 

At the time of which we are speaking, twisted twigs, or 
withes, were the universal subtitutes for ropes. Cowbands, 
all the ties of horse-graith, &c., were generally made of 
withes. Before the introduction of carts, creels or panniers 
on the back of horses, tied with withes, were used instead ; 
hence the Gaelic adage " Is mithich a bhi cuir na'n gad 
am bogadh " which is equivalent to, " It is time to pack 
up bag and baggage." Great quantities of the birchen 
twigs suitable for withes were yearly cut above Carie, on 
the property of Struan. The Laird wished to keep them 
for the use of his own tenants ; but people from a distance 
often cut and took them. One man, who made quite a 
trade ot pillaging the copse, and selling the withes in the 
neighbouring districts, was at last caught in the act, and 
brought before Struan. The Laird stormed and threatened ; 
" he would have thieves punished ; he would make him 
repent the day he entered his woods." But after all, the 
honest Laid found it easier to scold than to dispose of the 
depredator. " What are we to do with him ? " says Struan 


at last. " Do with him, Sir," answers the servant ; " take 
his horse from him. He is too poor ever to get another one ; 
and I'll be bound he'll never come to your woods again." 
" Take his horse from him, ye born scoundrel," responds 
the Laird, turning fiercely upon the servant ; " the horse is 
his sole means of living, and he is a careful, diligent rascal, 
though a knave. No ; let him have his horse, and my per- 
mission to cut withes when he likes. I wish to encourage 
industry if it be honest? Struan might have spared his 
indignation, for he arrived precisely at the conclusion the 
servant wished, though it was by pretending the very 
reverse he got him to it. 

Like most of the Jacobites, Struan hated the Union, and 
counted the Scottish nobles who aided in bringing it about 
little better than renegades. Though rather long, and not 
very poetical, I would wish to quote his estimate of the 
different Scottish statesmen who conducted affairs under 
George I. and during the early part of his son's reign : 


" Limner, would you expose Albania's fate, 
Draw then a palace in a ruined state. 
Nettles and briers instead of fragrant flowers, 
Sleet, hail, and snow, instead of gentle showers : 
Instead of plenty, all things meagre look, 
And into swords turn plough-crow, scythe, and hook 
Instead of guards, you ravenous wolves must place, 
And all the signs of government deface ; 
Instead of order, justice, and good laws, 
Let all appear confused as the first Chaos. 
Near to this palace, make on every hand 
The ruins of two noble fabrics stand 
A Church where none but priests of Baal do stay ; 


A Court of Justice filled with birds of prey. 
With a bold pencil draw the great Argyle 
In some respects the glory of our Isle- 
Draw his intrepid heart and generous mind, 
Where nought that's base did ever harbour find ; 
But near him place his bi other, and display 
With what base arts he leads his friends astray. 
Give him an air that's sullen and morose, 
Still looking downward ; his dark mind expose. 
Let Roxburgh next upon the canvas stand, 
Supported by the vilest, sordid band 
That ever did invest this wretched land, 
In proper colour paint his vicious mind, 
Which rules of honour never yet could bind ; 
Where truth and justice, banished far away, 
Revenge and falsehood bear a sovereign sway. 
Limmer, proceed ; conspicuously expose 
The chicken-hearted, narrow soul, Montrose. 
Show how he doth debase his noble line, 
Which heretofore illustriously did shine : 
Show how he makes himself a tool of State, 
A slave to avarice, to his friends ingrate. 
Tweedale demands a place upon the stage 
Composed and learned, though scarce attained to age. 
Time must determine how he will employ 
The talents which he largely doth enjoy. 
As from the morn the day is often guessed, 
He'll prove, I fear, a hawk, like to the nest. 
Queensberry next a station here should claim 
O, how I tremble when I write his name ! 
Will he, for what his father did, atone, 
Or will he in the same course still go on ? 
To Stair allow, as he deserves, some space, 
And round about him the Dalrymple race. 
Describe how they their sovereign did betray, 
And sell their nation's liberty away. 
Let Haddington appear, as is his due, 
Among a rakish unbelieving crew ; 
And near him place no man that has desire 


T' escape the danger of eternal fire. 

Place Sutherland, Orkney, Lauderdale, Morton, 

Rothes, Ross, Buchan, Balhaven, Bute, Hopton, 

All close together as a pack of fools, 

And near to them another class of tools ; 

When Douglas, Hyndford, Selkirk, bore some sway, 

And Lothian won't to Forrester give way. 

But now reserve some place for Athole's Grace, 

In every one of these two ranks him place ; 

Do not forget his visage to describe, 

And fill his breast with avarice and pride. 

Near to him let his Grace of Gordon stand 

For these two drakes may well go hand in hand 

And if you mount him on his Tuscan steed, 

Leave him full room to gallop off with speed. 

Finlater surely will pretend some space, 

For he ne'er wants pretensions to a place ; 

For this, a footman court, his friends betray, 

Engage at night, and break his course ere day ; 

Profound respect for every party pay ; 

A place for him apart, assign you must, 

For who'd be near to him, whom none would trust ? 

If these will but reflect on what is past, 

Give any one a stone that first will cast. 

With these you may a canvas large supply, 

And then to match them all the world defy." 

Struan must have been close upon eighty when Charles 
landed. He was too old and feeble to take the field in 
person, but did all he could for forwarding the cause. He 
had an interview with the Prince when the latter was in 
Athole, and came away rilled with enthusiasm for the 
" Young Chevalier." He blamed him, however, for his 
choice of commanders, and sorrowfully predicted the sad 
issue of the undertaking. Since their chief could not lead 
them, and from other reasons too, over which poor Struan 
had no control, the Robertsons did not fight under Charles 


as a separate clan, though great numbers of them were 
present under the banners of neighbouring chiefs. 

After Culloden, the wrath of the victors did not allow 
Struan to go off unpunished. His lands were ravaged, his 
house burned to the ground, and the feeble old Jacobite 
had to skulk in secret dens and woods, an outlaw for the 
third time. The women of Camghouran, it is said, saved 
him once met armis from being caught. They seized upon 
the officers of justice, and ducked them so well in the mill- 
dam that they were glad to escape with life. When under 
hiding, he was at times in need of the barest necessaries of 
life. His shepherd appears, from the following, to have 
been his chief purveyor : 


" Our shepherd is our guardian angel ; 

When we would jouk our foes 
He plots to put us out of danger ; 
Our shepherd is our guardian angel, 
And makes us feed at rack and manger, 

In spite of George's nose. 
Our shepherd is our guardian angel 
When we would jouk our foes." 

In his troubles and infirmities he kept up the same stout 
heart, and his jovial muse was not a whit less hopeful and 
caustic than when, nearly sixty years before, he drew his 
maiden sword under Dundee. Like the rest of his country- 
men, Struan appears to have taken up the strong unfounded 
prejudice against Lord George Murray. Let us hear the 
hoary outlaw's song in the woods of Rannoch : 


" A hoary swain inured to care 
Has toiled these sixty years, 


Yet ne'er was haunted with despair, 

Nor subject much to tears : 
Whatever fortune pleased to send 
He always hoped a joyful end, 

With a fa la la la la la. 

He sees a champion of renown 

Loud in the blast of fame, 
For safety, scouring up and down, 

Uncertain of his aim : 
For all his speed a ball from gun 
Could faster fly than he could run, 
With a fa la, &c. 

Another labouring to be great 

By some is counted brave ; 
His will admits of no debate, 

Pronounced with look so grave : 
Yet 'tis believed he is found out 
Not quite so trusty as he's stout. 
With a fa la, &c. 

An action well contrived of late 

Illustrates this my tale, 
Where two brave heroes tried their fate 

In fortune's fickle scale : 
Where 'tis surmised they wisely fought, 
In concert with each other's thought. 
With a fa la, &c. 

But first they knew that mountaineers 

(As apt to fight as eat) 
Who once could climb the hills like deers, 

Now fainted without meat, 
While English hearts their hunger stanch, 
Grew valiant as they crammed their paunch. 
With a fa la, &c. 

Thus fortified with beef and sleep 

They waddling sought their foes, 
Who scarce awake their eyes could keep. 

Far less distribute blows. 


To whom we owe the fruits of this 
Inspect who will, 'tis not amiss. 
With a fa la, &c. 

Tho' we be sorely now oppressed, 

By numbers driven from home, 
Yet fortune's wheel may turn at last, 

And justice back may come. 
In Providence we'll put our trust, 
Which ne'er abandons quite the just. 
With a fa la, &c. 

Even let them plunder, kill, and burn, 

And on our vitals prey, 
We'll hope for Charles' safe return, 

As justly so we may : 
The laws of God and man declare 
The son should be the father's heir. 
With a fa la, &c. 

Let wretches, flustered with revenge, 

Dream they can conquer hearts, 
The steady mind will never change, 

Spite of their cruel arts ; 
We still have woods and rocks and men, 
What they pull down to raise again. 
With a fa la, &c. 

And now let's fill the healing cup 

Enjoined in sacred song, 
To keep the sinking spirits up 

And make the feeble strong. 
How can the sprightly flame decline 
That always is upheld by wine. 
With a fa la, &c." 

When vengeance was glutted with the hecatombs offered 
on her altars, the search after Struan slackened, and he 
appears to have obtained a protection, for he was per- 
mitted to build a small hut on the blackened ruins of his 
former home, and there he died in 1749. Requiescat in pace. 


" The sworde and fir-tree croceit beneath ane croun 

Are fatall signes appropriat to this race, 
By some foreseing fellow well set doun, 

Meet for such lymmars spoilzeing everie place. 
The croun presents the King's most royall Grace, 

Ane rychteous judge with skill wha does decree 
That they, and all such cut-throats, should embrace 

His severe censure for their villanie : 
To wit, gif ony frae his sworde goes free 

On-execute, continuing in the wrang, 
He will erect ane gallows of that trie, 

And theirupon them in ane wuddie hang. 
Sae far's my wits can serve, I can nocht ken 

Ane better badge for such a sort of men. 


One thing yet rests that should their arms befit, 
[J with Sanct Johnston's ribbons they were knit" 

Black Book of Tay mouth. 

THE above is the sarcastic description given by Master 
William Bowie of the heraldic symbols of the ancient 
Clan Gregor " their signal for fight, which from monarchs 
they drew." The legend reads very differently in the hands 
of a M'Gregor : 

" Sliochd nan righrean duchasach 
Bha shios an Dun-Staibhnis, 
Aig an robh crunn na-h' Alb o thus 
'S aig a bheil c!uchas fathasd air." 


The M'Gregors, as is well known, claim descent from the 
Dunstaffnage kings, that is from Gregor, a descendant of Ken- 
neth M'Alpin. During the whole period of the Scots-Celtic 
kings, they would appear, according to their own traditions, 
to have held extensive possessions in Argyleshire and 
Perthshire. Glenorchy was the seat of the chief for ages. 
"John de Glenurchay," the then chief, was taken'prisoner by 
Edwaid I. in the battle of Dunbar, 1296, but his posses- 
sions were restored to him on condition of serving Edward 
in his French wars. " In the public instruments," says Mr. 
Gregory, " connected with the fate of the Scottish leaders 
captured at Dunbar, John de Glenurchay is ranked as one 
of the Magnates Scotia a proof that his possessions hold- 
ing of the crown were far from inconsiderable." The last 
of the M'Gregors of Glenorchy, original chiefs of the 
clan, died in 1390. In the Dean of Lismore's Obituary, 
written before 1550, the following entry of his death ap- 
pears : " Obitus Johannis Gregorii de Glenvrquhay, apud 
Glenvrquhay : Et sepultus in Dysart esc parte borientali 
Altaris Summi xix Aprilis, Anno Domini Mmocccolxxxx." 
" Death of John M'Gregor of Glenurchay at Glenurchay : 
and he was buried at Clachan-an-Disart, on the north side 
of the High Altar, the iQth April, 1390." But record 
evidence contradicting Mr. Gregory, and the clan traditions 
shows that John of Glenorchy was of the race of Somerled 
and that the M'Gregors were never feudal owners of that 

Glenlyon, the Braes of Rannoch, and considerable parts of 
Breadalbane, or as then styled the " Lordship of Discheour 
and Toyer," were largely held at one time by M'Gregors, 
but only as kindly tenants. It sounds, however, like an 


abuse of words to call persons " kindly tenants " who appear 
to have squatted on these lands, and perhaps violently dis- 
possessed others without asking the concurrence or wishing 
to know the will of the Crown. Length of sufferance had 
given security, and the frequent change of over-lords and 
bailies as well as revocation of Crown lands at the end of 
each minority, or on the occasion of civil commotions, bred 
an undue contempt for royal charters, and an overweening 
trust in coir-a-chlaidheamh, " right of the sword ; " and thus 
the M'Gregors allowed the time to escape when the pre- 
cious " paper rights " might have been easily obtained, and 
subjected themselves in time coming to over-lords, who sat 
too secure in the saddle for being pulled down by any op- 
position offered by a broken and landless race, and who 
were determined and knew how to enforce their charter 
privileges to the last iota. 

We gather from the Black Book that the "right chiefs " be- 
came extinct before 1500. For a long period the head men 
of the different branches of the clan contended, as it would 
appear, for pre-eminence. It was only after the excesses of 
private men of the clan brought disgrace upon the whole 
name, and the formidable combinations of the Campbells, 
Stewarts, Menzieses, &c., under colour of punishing the 
perpetrators of these excesses, warned the M'Gregors that 
they were all on the brink of ruin, that " John Dubh " of 
Glenstrae was reluctantly acknowledged chief. The house 
of Roro appears to have claimed the honour on account of 
priority of descent, while the house of Glenstrae advanced 
the plea of proximity of blood. The Dean of Lismore and 
the curate of Fortingall agree in their notice of John of 

Glenstrae's death. It is to be borne in mind that the dean 



and curate were both of the M'Gregors of Roro, and would, it 
is to be presumed, favour the pretensions of that house. 
His death is thus entered : " Death of John M'Gregor 
M'Ewine, Captain of the Gregorian tribe of Glenstrae > who 
died of good memory at Achallader, in Glenurchay, on 
Easter day, the I2th of April, in the year 1528. He was 
buried in Dysart, as others of his name used to be." From 
this it is evident the laird of Glenstrae was acknowledged 
but by a section of the clan ; and neither he nor any of his 
predecessors appears to have held land of the Crown, or of 
feudal superiors by charters. But they must have been 
Thanes or Toisich in Glenurchay before the time of feudal 
charters. It is in the time of disputes about the chief- 
tainship, the McGregors of Roro are first found associated 
with John of Lome, and as tenants of the Crown possessing 
the Roro Toiseachd. 

As genealogical descent stands for the Highland clans in 
place of more accurate chronology, it is right perhaps that 
the genealogy of the chiefs of Glenstrae, or, as they were 
generally called, the Lairds of McGregor, should be given in 
this place, for otherwise any notice in the sequel would not 
be easily understood. It is copied from the Black Book of 
Taymouth, page 64 : 

"Johne Makewin M'Allaster M'Gregour, in anno (1516?) ravischit 
Helene Campbell, dochter to Sir Colene Campbell of Glenurquhay, 
knicht. This Helene wes widow and Lady of Lochbuy, and she was 
ravischit. The foirsaid Johne wes not righteous air to the M'Gregour, 
but wes prindpall of the Clan-Doulcheir. 

" This Johne M'Ewin begat upon the foirsaid Helene, Allaster 
M'Gregor of Glenstray, wha marriet ane dochter of the Laird of Ard- 
kinglass, being widow to M'Nachtane of Dundaraw. 

"This Allaster of Glenstray begat upon the said dochter of the 


Laird of Ardkinglass John M'Gregor of Glenstray, and Gregour Roy 
his brother. The said Johne diet of the hurt of ane arrow going be- 
tvvix Glenlyon and Rannoch. 

"Gregour Roy, his brother, succeeded him. The said Gregour 
Roy mariet the Laird of Glenlyon's (Duncan Campbell's) dochter, and 
begat upon hir Allaster Roy M'Gregour, and Johne Dow M'Gregour 
his brother. This foirsaid Gregour Roy M 'Gregour wes execute be 
Colene Campbell of Glenurquhay (/th April, 1570). 

"Allaster Roy M 'Gregour succeidit to the foirsaid Gregour his 
father, and had no children bot ane dochter. This Allaster Roy 
M'Gregour wes execute and hangit at the mercat croce of Edinburgh, 
and forfaultit, in anno 1604. 

"Johne Dow M'Gregour, brother to the said Allaster M'Gregour, 
mariet ane dochter of the Laird of Strowan Murrayis, and begat upon 
hir Gregour, Patrik, and Ewin M'Gregouris. This Johne Dow 
M' Gregour wes slaine in Glenfrune be the Laird of Luss anno 1602. 

".Gregour M'Gregour, sone to the foirsaid Johne Dow M' Gregour, 
that wes slaine in Glenfrune, succeidit air to Allaster Roy M 'Gregour 
his uncle. This Gregour, with consent of Patrik and Ewin M'Gregouris 
his brother, disponit to Sir Duncan Campbell, sevint Laird of Glenur- 
quhay, the landis of Stronmelochan and Glenstray, for the soume of 
ten thousandis pundis money, 1624." 

So much for the M'Gregors of Glenstrae ; but it may be 
noticed in passing, that the Dean of Lismore tells us the 
above-mentioned John Makewin was the eleventh person 
in descent from " Kenneth, High King of Albin," and that 
" Duncan Doyroclych M'Dowle Vc. Oyne Reywich, had 
written out this from the books of the Shenheych of the 
kings, which had been made before the year 1512." What 
does he mean by the Senachie of the Kings ? Duncan 
" the servitor " was the brother of the Dean of Lismore. 

The family of M'Gregors of Roro held that Toiseachd, 
it is traditionally said, for seven generations. They were, 
to begin with, in some way so closely connected with John 
of Lome, a M'Dougall, that they subsequently got their 


traditions mixed up, and supposed Black John to be a Clan 
Gregor chief. 

It appears the M'Gregors of Roro formed a distinct 
family many generations prior to the beginning of the six- 
teenth century. Before it was even granted out by feudal 
charter, they held, as " kindly tenants," that part of Glenlyon 
which had been afterwards included in the barony of Men- 
zies, and over which, from 1502 to about 1680, the Lairds of 
Weem were the over-lords. After having colonised Ran- 
noch under favour of the Stewarts' of Garth, the Roro 
chieftains severed that connection, and were friendly enough 
with Sir Robert Menzies and Sir Duncan Campbell, in 
whose favour James IV. erected the threescore markland 
possessed once by John of Lome into a separate Barony, 
called the Barony of Glenlyon. The M'Gregors of Ran- 
noch, Morinch, Fernan, and Fortingall, owed allegiance to 
the Cean-tighe of Roro, either directly as being descendants, 
or collaterally as sprung from the Feinne of Iain-dub k-nan- 
lann" of which band the M'Gregors of Roro, on usual 
clannish principles, became the captains. The first 
McGregor of Roro, of whom there is any authentic account, 

I. Gregor, who settled in Roro about the time of his 
father's death, 1415, and was succeeded by his son. 

II. Duncan Beg M'Gregor, known by the surname of 
Donacha Lionach. According to the Dean of Lismores 
Obituary, and the Chronicle of Fortingall^ he died at Roro, 
1477. He had many sons, but here it is only necessary to 
mention two ist, Gregor his heir; 2nd, John, styled in 
the Chronicle of Fortingall John " Duncanson," who died 
at Bellycht (Taymouth), and was buried at Inchadin, loth 


March, 1491 ; and his widow, Katrine Cardny, daughter of 
the Laird of Foss, was buried in the church of Dull before 
the step of the Great Altar, I4th August, 1493. Their 
relative, Sir James M'Gregor, Vicar of Fortingall, 
notary public, and Dean of Lismore, was the first col- 
lector of Gaelic poetry that we know of. A volume of 
poems collected by him has been for a long time in the 
archives of the Highland Society. It has been inspected 
from time to time for special purposes, and the result com- 
municated ; and last year, if I mistake not, an interesting 
lecture was delivered by Lord Neaves on the Osseanic con- 
troversy, which was mostly founded, in the peculiar lines 
of its argument, upon the report made by a Gaelic minister 
of Edinburgh upon the matter contained in this work ; but 
not one attempt has, it seems, yet been made to give the 
volume in its entireness without adding to or taking from, 
and that is the only way in which a subject of the kind 
can be justly dealt with to the public of Scotland so long 
tantalised about it* The Chronicle, written in Latin, and 
occupying but a few leaves of the original volume, has 
been printed, and contains matter of the highest interest 
for local genealogists. It is to be noticed in passing, that 
the principals of the M'Gregors of Leragan and Dunan in 
Rannoch, and the M'Gregors of Morinch and Fernan in 
Breadalbane, were severally descended from different sons 
of Duncan Beg. 

III. Gregor M'Gregor Duncan son died at Roro, April* 
1515, and was buried at Killin. He was married to a 
daughter of the Laird of Weem, and, as it would appear, 

* This book, edited by Dr. Maclauchan, has long since been published. 


held of his father-in-law, for during his time Roro had 
been included in the Barony of Menzies. This Gregor had 
several sons ist, Duncan, his heir ; 2nd, James, ancestor of 
the Gregories of Kinardie ; 3rd, John, surnamed Ian Mallich^ 
on account of his large eyebrows, ancestor of the M'Gregor- 
Drummonds of Balhaldie. Mallet the poet was also a de- 
scendant of Ian Mallich. 

IV. Duncan M'Gregor, who succeeded his father, is 
several times noticed in the Chronicle of Fortingall. He is 
mentioned in the proclamation against several of the Clan 
Gregor, loth January, 1 563. He was married to a daughter 
of Rannald M'Couilglas of Keppoch. The proscriptions 
fell with great severity upon Duncan and his family. He 
died in captivity. One of his sons (Ewen) died of wounds 
received in a skirmish with the persecutors of the clan, at 
Croftgarrow, parish of Fortingall, i6th January, 1554, and 
was buried in the choir of Branvo, Glenlyon, as the curate 
of Fortingall observes, " cum maxima lamentatione virorum 
et muliemm" that being, I suppose, the best Latin para- 
phrase he could muster for Corronach. John Dhu More, 
another son, and an eminent warrior of the clan, died in 
the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, 28th July, 1612. A grandson, 
Duncan in Fernan, and his cousin Allaster in Croftgarrow, 
son of the Ewen above mentioned, and several others of 
their kith and kin, were hanged with their chieftain, Gregor 
of Roro, and Chief Allaster of Glenstrae, for having been 
at the battle of Glenfruin, as well as for several enormities 
committed against the lands and tenants of Sir Duncan 
Campbell of Glenorchy, 28th July, 1612. "John Dhu," 
M'Allaster Breac, a grandson of Duncan, styled of Stonfer- 
nan, occurs in the records along with his brother in 1589 and 


1602, and likewise by himself, in the bond given to the Earl 
of Argyle in 1601, as a descendant of " Duncan Leonach." 
He was killed by John Campbell, brother of Sir James Camp- 
bell of Lawers, to whom a commission of fire and sword had 
been granted against the McGregors by Argyle, the King's 
Lieutenant. Campbell presented the head of " John Dhu " 
to the Privy Council in 1611. At the time of his death, 
M'Gregor had a feu of the lands of Stonfernan from 
Strowan Robertson, and Campbell pursued Strowan before 
the Council for a nineteen years' lease of his victim's feu, 
in terms of an Act of Council promising such tack in favour 
of the slayer of every outlaw M'Gregor who happened to 
possess lands. Strowan was adjudged to pay Campbell a 
compensation, and ordered to eject the widow and bairns 
of M 'Gregor, with servants and tenants. 

V. Gregor M'Gregor, eldest son of Duncan, occurs with 
his nephew, " John Dhu," in a commission of fire and 
sword, dated 4th February, 1589, against a number of the 
Clan Gregor for the murder of Drummond of Drummond- 
Ernoch, the unfortunate forester of Glenartney. Gregor 
had a large family, most of whom sank under the venge- 
ance of the persecutors. Gregor himself was " hangit and 
quarterit" at Edinburgh in 1604, with the Chief "Alester 
Roy M'Gregor of Glenstrae," and many other principals of 
the clan. He was succeeded by his son. 

VI. Duncan M'Gregor, alias Gordon of Roro, who, on 
the 24th February, 1613, as the only means to protect him- 
self from being utterly ruined under the guise of law and 
order by the enemies of his name and race, granted a re- 
nunciation of his lands of Roro in favour of Duncan Men- 
zies of Conine. In 1633 ne made a second renunciation in 


favour of Alexander Menzies, son of Duncan, and took a 
wadset of the Mains of Roro in security for 1,000 Scots, 
being balance due him of the price of the property. On 
the 22nd May, 1630, " Duncan M'Gregor, alias Gordon," 
and John Dhu M'Gregor, alias Sinclair, his brother, signed 
a bond and letter of slaine, whereby they became bound 
for all the M'Gregors of their own house of Roro, to keep 
the peace with Robert Buchanan of Leny, and his friends, 
on condition the latter should pay 1,300 merks, as an as- 
sithment for the slaughter of three of their friends, which 
sum had been agreed upon by arbiters mutually chosen by 
both parties. Duncan had married a daughter of Duncan 
Campbell, Laird of Glenlyon, and was succeeded by his son. 

VII. Alexander M'Gregor, who fell in the battle of In- 
verlochy, fighting under Montrose, 2nd February, 1645, and 
was succeeded by his brother. 

VIII. Gregor M'Gregor of Roro, who followed Montrose 
through all his campaigns. On the 2 5th April, 1673, he 
obtained of Commissary John Campbell, of Glendaruel, his 
maternal uncle, a renewal of the Mortgage Right of the 
Mains of Roro, the purchase money being the same as in 
the transaction of 1633. 

IX. Gregor M'Gregor, alias "John Gordon" of Roro, 
succeeded his father. He joined in the Rebellion of 1715, 
wherethrough his estate was sadly burdened. He was suc- 
ceeded by his son. 

X. Duncan M'Gregor, alias Campbell, the last M'Gregor 
of Roro. He followed Prince Charles in 1745, and in con- 
sequence was so much impoverished as to be under the 
necessity of acting as clerk to his uncle, Robertson of 
Tullybelton, at Perth. The wadset on the Mains of Roro 



was paid off by the Earl of Breadalbane, who obtained a 
renunciation in his favour, ist April, 1760, signed by Dun- 
can Campbell, alias M'Gregor, and others, at Perth, where 
it is recorded. His two sons left for India, and were not 
afterwards heard of. Dr. James M'Gregor of Fonab, who 
is lineally descended from Duncan, uncle of the last 
M'Gregor of Roro, in consequence of the failure of the 
main stem, appears at present to be the representative of 
this ancient branch of the Clan Gregor. 


DOWN to the reign of James IV. the M'Gregors, broken 
as they lately were into contending sections, and 
without a chief, had still been able to hold their own safely. 
The Campbells of Glenorchy, from 1452 downwards, had 
been gradually acquiring heritable and leasehold titles to 
large tracts in the Breadalbane district ; but the royal and 
Charter-house possessions there were yet extensive, and upon 
these the M'Gregors held their settlements unquestioned, 
The Campbells, upon the lands they actually acquired, 
were not yet in a position to exercise coercive measures 
with a high hand. In 1473, John Stewart of Fortingall, 
and Neil his son, had a nineteen years' lease from James 
III. of the royal lands and lordships of Apnadull, Glen- 
quaich, Glenlyon, Strathbrawin, and Rannoch. They held 
the important office of bailairy of the same lands for the 
period of their lease. The house of Roro, and the off-shoot 
branches in Rannoch, Fortingall, &c., flourished and robbed 
under the sway of Neil for his father died soon after the 
lease was obtained. The M'Gregors amply repaid the 
kindness, and exhibited for Neil a degree of fidelity which 
was no less honourable than fatal for both parties. Neil, 
at the head of his own men and the faithful M'Gregors, 
fought fiercely for his unfortunate monarch, and relative, 
James III,, through the last sad troubles of his melan- 


choly reign. After the death of the king, Neil appears to 
have kept up for some time a predatory band, and to have set 
the M'Gregors loose upon some of the neighbouring barons 
who had espoused the side of the prince in the late war. 
Whatever compunctions James IV. might have felt for the 
death of his father, he did not always show friendly feelings 
for those who had manfully espoused his side. Neil's lease 
expired in 1492, and was not renewed. James IV. visited 
Kinloch-Rannoch and the rest of the district, and saw fit, in 
his royal wisdom, to confer the power which he had taken 
from the hands of Neil upon the Lairds of Glenorchy and 
Weem. In 1502, Glenorchy had a charter of the Barony 
of Glenlyon. A similar charter, of the same date, was 
granted to Sir Robert Menzies of Weem, of the north side 
of Loch Rannoch, at that time and long afterwards the very 
stronghold of the M'Gregors. Neil Stewart died at Garth, 
3ist January, 1499, and was succeeded by his son, also 
called Neil. This impetuous young man, maddened by the 
slight put on his house, hurled immediately, with all the 
relentless vigour of his forefather, the redoubtable " Wolf of 
Badenoch," the fiery torrent of his Highland vengeance 
upon Sir Robert Menzies. The M'Gregors of Rannoch, 
and indeed of the whole house of Roro, were his willing 
associates. The charter of the lands of Rannoch is dated 
ist September, 1502 ; and in the same month, Niall Gointe 
of Garth, and his wild followers surprised, pillaged and 
burned Weem Castle, took Sir Robert Menzies prisoner, 
and laid all his property waste. They took with them all 
they could carry or drive, and what they could not take 
with them they burned. 

The Clan Gregor cannot be traced or identified by means 


of existing records beyond 1400. But when first met with 
they are a numerous and widely scattered tribe, devoted to 
warlike pursuits and cattle lifting. Their whole attitude 
towards law and authority is that of people who have 
suffered wrong and who perpetually resent it. The sur- 
name itself is not to be found in records before the be- 
ginning of the fifteenth, or near the end of the fourteenth, 
century. As already mentioned, Mr. Gregory's supposition 
that the John of Glenorchy, who lived in 1296 was, in his 
day, chief of the Gregorian tribe will not hold water, that 
John of Glenorchy was clearly a Macdougall, and a feudal 
baron, like his distant kinsman, the John of Lome, who 
about 1370 introduced McGregors into Glenlyon, and pro- 
bably got a M'Gregor vicar appointed to the Church of 
Fortingall. Still there was evidently a strong connection 
of some kind between those feudal barons and the Clan 
Gregor. The latter, I believe, were the soldiers or Feinne 
of the former, and as such possessed lands and privileges. 
But what were they before the Crown Thanages were 
granted out ? Toisich and kindly tenants of the Crown no 
doubt. Feudalism at first did not oppress them much, 
because for a time they held the same relation towards the 
feudal baron which they had formerly held towards the 
King. But that state of things could not last long, and 
when the Clan Gregor realised the fact that feudalism 
would gradually displace and extinguish them they began 
war with authority and with society. Glenorchy was the 
cradle of their race, and to Glenorchy they stuck with 
wonderful tenacity for two centuries after John of Lome's 
death. The oldest of the Clan Gregor song in the Dean of 
Lismore's Gaelic collection must, as internal evidence 


proves, have been composed about 1480. It claims for the 
then head of the house of Glenstrae, descent from Toisich 
or Thanes, and asserts an equality of rank between the old 
captains of districts and feudal lords. We learn from these 
old songs that, from 1400 to 1500, the Clan Gregor made 
a great deal of peculiar history, although as yet their 
separate clan history had scarcely commenced. We are 
told that the dwellings and folds of the chieftains were full 
of spoils and " lifted " cattle, but on looking below the 
surface we can see that, as yet, the clan waged their wars 
as hired soldiers under the banners of contending feudal 
potentates. In the next century they carried on forays 
and wars on their own hand and under their own banner. 
The moan which the Monks of Scone put into one of their 
charters, leaves little room to doubt that the M'Gregors 
had squatted by force on the Charter-house lands in Bread- 
albane long before the end of the fifteenth century, and 
carried on systematic robberies. They would seem to have 
been much earlier than that troublers of Strathearn. To 
Glenlyon they were introduced as soldiers of John of Lome, 
and the Stewarts of Garth planted seemingly a colony of 
Glenlyon M'Gregors as their soldiers, on the north side of 
Loch Rannoch, who being reinforced from Glenorchy and 
entering into brotherhood with the lawless men of Lochaber 
and Badenoch, gave the Government and country much 
trouble for two hundred years afterwards. Rannoch, if we 
can rely upon the silence of records, was as peaceful and 
orderly as any place in Perthshire, until, in an evil hour, 
the Stewarts of Garth placed M'Gregor Feinne in Dunan 
and Slismin. They were not long there before they realised 
the advantages of the position. They developed the 


" creach " system accordingly, and defied authority. But 
the Fourth James was a strong ruler, and as soon as he saw 
the nature and extent of the evil, he took prompt measures 
to remedy it. 

After a struggle, in which he exhibited the hereditary 
obstinacy of his family to the utmost, Neil Stewart finally 
succumbed, and about 1507 resigned his Barony of For- 
tingall into the hands of the Earl of Huntly. 

The feudal Baron was ruined ; not so the landless Clan 
Gregor. Menzies, by giving his daughter in marriage to 
M'Gregor of Roro, attached the latter to his interest who 
acknowledged Sir Robert as over-lord, and at the same 
time deprived the Rannoch M'Gregors of their legitimate 
head. For the next twenty years, the Rannoch McGregors 
are designated "brokin men of the Clan Gregour." A 
leader, however, appeared in the person of the redoubtable 
Duncan Ladosach M'Gregor, related both to the houses of 
Roro and Glenstrae. Before this hero came upon the stage, 
Menzies attempted to obtain a real footing in his nominal 
Barony of Rannoch, by putting in effect that plan so often 
tried for pacifying the rebellious districts of Scotland of 
colonising the unsettled lands with new inhabitants. Being 
unable to effect his purpose unaided, he entered into a con- 
tract with Huntly in 1505, wherein it was stipulated, "Sir 
Robert's heir would marry Lady Jean Gordon, daughter of 
the Earl ; the lands of Rannoch would be let to Huntly 
for five years, during which time the latter bound himself 
to stock them with the best and most obedient tenants that 
could be found." 

Huntly 's efforts proved unavailing ; for in 1523, on being 
charged by the Countess of Athole to expel the M'Gregor 


chief from Rannoch, Sir Robert stated to the Lords of 
Council he could not do it, " seeing that the said M'Gregour 
on force enterit the said Robertis landis of Rannoche, and 
withaldis the samyn fra him maisterfullie, and is of far 
greater powar than the said Robert, and will nocht be put 
out be him of the saidis landis." His successors downwards 
obtained from the governments of the day exemption from 
answering for the peace of their lands of Rannoch, as the 
McGregors continued to act the part of masters therein. 
This was the case down at least to 1684, in which year " Sir 
Alexander Menzies of Weyme " obtained an exemption of 
the kind, and in fact their feudal investiture little availed 
the Lairds of Weem until the untameable race were broken 
to the yoke, along with the other rebellious septs, by the 
Dutch and Hanoverian garrisons established throughout 
the country after the Revolution of 1688. 

When the battle of Flodden deprived Scotland of its 
king and leading nobility, feuds and agressions, in all parts 
of the country, broke out with unusual ferocity, and 
threatened the unfortunate realm with evils more fatal than 
those of the stricken field. The Laird of Struan, William 
Robertson, was the most conspicuous of the Perthshire 
chiefs who entered without check or remorse upon this 
course. In the Rannoch M'Gregors he found willing coad- 
jutors, who, joined to his own men, gave Struan a "follow- 
ing" of upwards of 800 warlike and unscrupulous freebooters. 
For three years the band held together ; and though we 
have no detailed account of their exploits, the havoc com- 
mitted must have been something unprecedented, to have 
drawn Buchanan's attention from the intrigues of courtiers 
and ecclesiastics, and to have justified the following strong 


expressions of the learned historian : " Ante ejus adventnm 
(that is, Albany's arrival from France) cum nemo unus 
aiictoritate praecipua polleret, passim caedes et rapinae fiebant : 
et) dum potentiores privatas opes et factiones contrahunt, 
vulgus inopum>desertum y omnigenere miseriarum affligebatur* 
Inter prcedones illiustemporis^fuitMacrobertus Struanus, qui 
per At ho Ham et vicina loca, octingentis plerumque latronibus, 
ac interim pluribus comitatus omnia pro arbitrio populabatur? 
Struan was caught at last by guile, when sojourning with 
his uncle, John Crichton, and expiated his crimes at Tully- 
met, /th April, 1516, which was the year after the Regent 
Albany's arrival in Scotland. 

In these, and several raids which followed, the chief 
men of the clan appear studiously to have kept their 
hands clean ; but the caution was unavailing, and they 
soon found to their dismay, that the desperate deeds of 
the " brokin men " brought the whole clan face to face 
with destruction. 

On the fall of Struan, Duncan Ladosach rallied round him 
the M'Gregors of Rannoch, and all the other desperadoes 
of the clan who wished to defy the law, or had done so 
already. The name of this remarkable man became a by- 
word ; but time had so much obliterated traditions regard- 
ing him, that, beyond the name of horror with which the 
mother stilled her child, little else was known about him in 
my boyhood. The publication of the Black Book of Tay- 
mouth has now, however, thrown floods of light upon the life 
of the daring freebooter. Among the other interesting 
documents included in that volume, we find, though not 
published for the first time, "Duncan Laideus alias 
Makgregouris Testament" It is a poem of considerable 


length, treating, in the first person, of the life of our hero. 
Duncan, of course, never wrote a line of it, nor is the author 
known. It was written, evidently, by a foeman of the clan 
Gregor, probably by a Campbell ; but it has great merit 
notwithstanding, and, except that Duncan's good qualities, 
if he had any, are passed over in silence, the principal 
passages of his exciting life seem faithfully enough pre- 
served. Like a real will, the poem is divided into two parts, 
narrative and testamentary. Like most poems of that age, 
the Testament opens with allegorical personifications of the 
virtues and vices, and a relation of how the latter prevailed, 
till finally 

" Falsehood said, he made my house right strong, 
And furnished weill with meikill wrangous geir, 
And bad me neither God nor man to feir." 

And then, under the influence of this precious household, 
Duncan tells us how 

" First in my youthead I began to deal 
With small oppressions and tender lambis, 

Syne with Lawtie I brak baith band and seill, 
Cleikit couplit kiddis with their damis ; 
After, fangit beafe with great hammis ; 

Then could I nocht stand content with ane cow, 

Without I got the best stirk of the bow." 

Duncan continuing in his evil courses, and to theft 
adding manslaughter, his misdeeds were related in the 
Court of that " royal prince," King James IV., who gave 
orders for his capture. 

" The loud corrinoch then did me exile, 

Through Lome, Argyle, Menteith and Braidalbane ; 
But like ane fox with mony wrink and wyle, 


Frae the hunds eschapis oft onslane, 
Sae did I then, syne schupe me to remain, 
In Lochaber with gude Ewin Alesoun, 
Where that we wan mony ane malesoun." 

Being chased from Lochaber by Archibald, Earl of Argyle, 
he returned to his old haunts, but the toils were every- 
where set against him, and so he was made prisoner by Sir 
Duncan Campbell of Glenorchy. Cast into " ane dungeoun 
deep," and expecting merited doom, the Battle of Flodden, 
in which Sir Duncan fell, gave him hopes of liberty, which 
he soon realised by bribing his keepers : 

" Deliverit, then, of danger and of deid, 

Lettin again unto my libertie, 
By help of friends, keparis of that steid, 

To whom I promissed ane pension yeirlie ; 

But in gude faith my intent was trewlie 
Never worde to keep of that promiss than 
Nor yet sensyne made to nae uther man." 

The meeting with his companions is so graphically described 
that I give it without curtailment : 

" Then be the way me haistilie their meetis 
My companions swift as ony swallows ; 

For great blythness sittis doun and greetis, 
Sayand, ' Maister, welcome, be Alhallows. 
May we be hangit heich upon ane gallows 

Gif we be not blyther of you alane. 

Nor that we had baith God and Sanct Phillan?. 

' What tidings, sir,' quod I, ' frae the host ? ' 
Quod they, ( In gude faith we bide not for to lane ; 
The King, with mony worthy man, is lost, 
Baith Earl Archibald and Sir Duncan slain.' 
* Off thae tidings,' quod I, * I am richt fain, 
For had the King lived, or yet the Lord, 
They had me worrit stark dead in ane cord. 


Now, gude fallows, hearken what I say to you, 
This country think I for to rule my self; 

Be true to me all, theirfor, I pray you, 
And we among us ay shall pairt the pelf, 
And ripe, in faith, mony poor widow's skelf ; 

For she shall say that Duncan and his men 

Have not her left the valoure of ane hen.' 

Then answerit they, all with ane voice attanis, 
' But gif we do, as thou bidst us, ay, 

The devil tak us, saule, body, and banis, 
Quick unto hell, withouten more delay.' 
I hearing them thir wordis, gladlie say, 

Sik courage could into my mind incress, 

And soon began the commons to oppress. 

Like ane wolf, greedy and insatiabill, 
Devouring sheep with mony bludie box, 

To the people I was als terribill, 

Reiffand frae them mony ane cow and ox. 
Were the grey mare in the fetter lox 

At John Upalande's door knit fast eneuch, 
Upon the morn he mist her to the pleuch." 

The weak and troubled Regency of Albany allowed 
Duncan full scope to " rule the land himself," and every- 
thing went smooth with him in all his attempts as long as 

" James mewed in Stirling's tower, 
A stranger to respect and power." 

But a storm arose when that vigorous monarch took the 
reins in his own hands. In 1530, James raised an army of 
ten thousand men, with which he swept the borders. 
During this expedition, " Johnnie Armstrong " and thirty- 
six of his men were hanged at Carlenrig. James, unwearied 
in punishing malefactors, and in adding terror to the ad- 
ministration of justice, established the Court of Session in 


1532, visited the Isles in 1540, and altogether showed such 
determination to put down oppression and disorder in all 
parts of his dominions, as gave his kingdom a degree of peace 
scarcely known before, and fairly earned for the chivalrous 
monarch the endearing title of " King of all the Commons." 
Duncan Ladosach found, to his cost, his hand was now in 
the lion's mouth. In 1531, we find the following " Memo- 
randum " made by the Curate of Fortingall : 

"Rannoch was hareyed the morne efter Sanct Tennenis day in 
harist, be John Erlle of Awthoell, and be Clan-Donoquhy (Robertsons), 
the yer of God ane, and at the next Belten (May) after that, 
the quhylk was xxxii. yer, the bra of Rannoch was hareyd be them 
abown wryttyn, and Alexander Dow Albrych war heddy th at Kenloch- 
trannoch : the quhylk Belten and yer I coun till the cwyr of Fortyr- 
gill fyrst, and Alexander M'Gregor of Glenstra our scheyff (chief) 
was bot ane barne of xvii. yer that tyme." 

John, Earl of Athole, and the Robertsons, succeeded in 
taking the castle in the Isle of Loch Rannoch, and in ex- 
pelling thence the " brokin men of the Clan Gregour," of 
whom Duncan Ladosach was by this time the acknowledged 
leader. The Earl, however, complained next year that the 
expenses of the expedition, and the charge of garrisoning 
and keeping the castle, had not been paid him, as promised 
by the King, and solemnly protested that any inconvenience 
which might arise from the Council refusing or delaying to 
receive the castle from him should not be laid to his charge. 
This protest perhaps arose more from the Earl's fears of 
Duncan recovering his prize before he had been able to 
deliver it up to Government, and so fulfil the commission 
with which he was charged, than from any doubt his ex- 
penses should not be reimbursed. The same year, 1532, 
Athole strengthened his hand against Duncan and his 


" broken men " by a Bond of Mutual Help, between John 
Stewart, Earl of Athole, on the one part, and Duncan 
Campbell of Glenurchay, and William Murray of Tullibar- 
dine,on the other, irv which the said parties bound themselves, 
" to be gude friendis in pece and weir," the which Bond was 
" ackit in the officials buikis of Dunkell, under the pams of 
curssing and uther censuris of Haly Kirk." Next year, 1533, 
James V. made a summer tour to Athole, and shortly after 
Duncan was outlawed and put to the horn, and as a fugitive 
from sharp justice was reduced to great misery. But when 
the King died, he was again abroad at his old work. 

The Curate of Fortingall has an entry, of which the 
following is a translation : 

"The House of Trochare in Strathbraan was burned by Alexander 
McGregor of Glenstrae, 25th August, 1545 ; on which day Robert 
Robertson of Strowan was captured by the same Alexander, and four 
of the said Robert's servants slain. ' God the Just Judge, render 
to every one according to his work' '' 

From the last sentence the curate gives us to understand, 
in his usual equivocal way, that Strowan, in his opinion at 
least, received only what he deserved. By this time the 
chief of the clan had been fairly drawn into Duncan's 
schemes, the cause of the " broken men " had become the 
cause of the clan, and thus the enormities originally com- 
mitted by a few, led to the legal contamination of the 
whole, and by degrees subjected the entire race to extir- 
pating vengeance. The house of Glenorchy had shown 
special severity to the landless tribe, and upon their heads 
Duncan now resolved that a full measure of wrath should 
fall. The Chief of Glenstrae died, and Duncan was chosen 
tutor by the clan. This office enabled him fully to con- 


summate his former attempts to lead the whole clan into 
his own evil courses. There can be little doubt the murder 
of Alexander Ower M'Gregor of Morinch, was committed 
by Duncan, in revenge of the former having forsworn his 
allegiance to the Tutor, and having become the vassal of 
Campbell of Glenurchay. The M'Gregors of Roro would 
appear, as we shall hereafter notice, to have in a manner 
refused to bear Duncan's yoke, and as much as possible to 
have kept clear of aiding him in his misdeeds. Alexander 
Ower was a cadet of this unfriendly house. Should his 
example be followed and the Tutor's tyrannical measures 
might make it contagious among the powerful sept to which 
Ower belonged then farewell to Duncan's power ; let the 
M'Gregors learn to give the calp of " Ceann-Cinne " to any 
other than the Laird of Glenstrae, and Duncan's authority, 
and the superiority of his pupil would at once become a 
dream ; the ligatures of clanship being cut, as a race the 
M'Gregors would become extinct. Duncan saw the magni- 
tude of the evil, and met it by a prompt and bloody remedy. 
It brought Duncan to the block, but contributed not a little 
to the preservation of the Clan Gregor. Allaster Ower 
signed the Bond of Vassalage to Colin of Glenurchay upon 
the loth July, 1550, and was slain by Duncan and his son 
Gregor upon Sunday, the 22nd November, 1551. The 
slaughter of Allaster made the Campbells' cup of wrath 
against Duncan overflow. The Laird of Glenorchy 
associated the neighbouring barons, and all who had 
suffered from Duncan and his band, against the desperate 
freebooter. The issue is related by the Curate of For- 
tingall : 

"Slaughter and beheading of Duncan M'Gregor and his sons, 


namely, Gregor and Malcom Roy, by Colin Campbell of Glenurchay, 
Duncan Roy of Glenlyon, and Alexander Menzies of Rannoch, and 
their accomplices ; on which day John Gorm M'Duncan Vc Allexander 
Kayr, was slain by Allexander Menzies, at . . . . i6th June, 1552." 

The public documents concerning Duncan's doings are 
reserved for another time. He it was undoubtedly that set 
the mark of outlawry and destruction upon the clan first, 
and therefore it is meet we should know as much as possible 
about him. 


bond granted by Allaster Ower to the Laird of 
JL Glenurchay, which Duncan Ladosach so fearfully 
resented, is in terms as follows : 

" Bond of Alexander Vc Condoquhy? 

Alexander MTatrick Vc Condoquhy is becumyn of his awn fre will 
ane faythfull seruand to Collyne Campbell of Glenwrchquay and his 
ayris for all the dais of his lyftyme incontrar all personnis, the 
authorite beand excepit alanerly, baytht till ryde and gang on horss 
and on futt, in Hieland and Lawland, upon the said Collyns expenses 
And gif it happinnys ony differance betwixt the said Collyne his 
ayris and M'Gregour his cheyff the said Alexander sail nocht stand 
with ane of them, bot he sail be an evinly man for baytht the parties 
Attour the said Alexander hes maid the said Collyne and his 
ayris his assingnais to his takys of ony landis and specially of 
the ten merkland of Wester Morinch, now occupyit be the said Alex- 
ander and his subtennents. And also has nominat the said Collyne 
and his ayris his executoris and intromettouris with all his gudis 
mowbile and immowible that he happinis to hef the tyme of his decess 
and that in cace he hef na barnis lewand at that tyme lauchtfully 
gottyn For the quhilk the said Collyne and his ayris sail defend 
the foirsaid Alexander in all his just actionys the authorite, my 
Lord of Argyle and their actionis alanerly excepyt. Acta erant haec 
apud insulam de Lochthay horam circiter secundam post merediem 
presentibus ibidem Alexandra Menzes de Rannocht, Joanne WEmeweyr 
et magtstro Willelmo Ramsay notario publico testibus 10 Julii 155* 

The public indictment of Duncan Ladasoch and his son, 
is supplied by the learned editor in the preface to the Black 
Book. Mr. Innes says : 


On the 26th Nov. 1551, "The Queen's advocate set forth that :" 
" Duncan Laudes and Gregour his sone recently, namely, upoun 
Sounday the 22nd day of November instant, at sex houris at even, 
under silence of nycht, be way of hamesukin cam to the hous o* 
Alaster Owir alias M'Gregoure, servand to Colyne Campbell of Glen- 
urquhay of the landis of Moreis, and be force tuke him furth of his 
said hous, and be way of murthure straik him with whingearis and 
crewellie slew him, and spulzeit and tuke fra him his purs, and in it 
the soume of fourty poundis : and incontinent thireftir past to the 
landis of Killing to the hous of ane pure man callit Johne M'Bayne 
Pipare, and thair assegit the said hous and brak the durris thairof, 
and be force tuke the said Johne furth of the samin, and straik his 
heid fra his body and crewellie slew him, and gaif him divers uther 
straikis with whingearis in his body." 

Government having outlawed and put him to the horn, 
exhausted in these legal formalities the powers of vindi- 
cating its authority possessed by it per se ; and the more 
difficult part of making the Highland robber suffer the 
punishment of a rebel and outlaw was devolved upon the 
powerful and willing enemy of the clan, Colin Campbell, 
Laird of Glenorchy. In virtue of the bond of submission, 
he was the feudal representative and avenger of the mur- 
dered Alaster Ower ; for unfortunately for the administra- 
tion of justice and equal protection of all subjects, what- 
ever sounding expressions to the contrary might be found 
in the statute-book, and in the dicta of jurists, the most 
glaring crimes and misdemeanours were yet looked upon 
as merely affecting private parties, and were treated and 
settled accordingly ; as violations of law and equity, they 
had scarcely been yet recognised to be crimes against the 
common welfare of society, and to be prosecuted and 
avenged as such. " Colene, Sext Laird of Glenurquhay," 
the " Cailean Liath" of Highland story, was, according to 


the compiler of the Black Book, and he knew well, as he 
wrote under the eye of Colin's son and successor, " Laird 
induring the space of threttie-thre zeiris, in the quhilk 
tyme he conquesit the few of the kingis landis and Charter- 
hous landis in Braydalbane the tackis quhairoff his predi- 
cessouris obtenit, as is above written." In addition to this 
he had acquired the " superioritie of M'Nab his haill landis." 
He was actual possessor of the greater part, and with the 
exception of Struan's small Barony of Fernay or Fernan, 
and a few other small bits of land, was Lord superior and 
Bailie of the different Baronies and Lordships of Breadal- 
bane. With the most ample feudal privileges, and though 
his predecessors had land and manrent in the district for 
nearly a century, he was still but a stranger in a strange 
land, in which his footing was but precarious, and the 
authority granted by the King far from being satisfactorily 
acknowledged and obeyed. At that time the feudal char- 
ter, until the title of the holder was recognised and con- 
firmed by the so-called vassals, according to the old Celtic 
custom that is, by acknowledging or adopting him as 
chief, and granting him the calp of chieftainship was little 
else than a piece of useless parchment. A landlord, in 
order to have the use and mastery of his possessions, must 
either conciliate or extirpate the inhabitants. The Laird 
of Glenorquhy was not in a position to adopt the latter 
alternative, and he therefore eagerly and skilfully seized 
upon the former. Breadalbane was at the time inhabited 
mostly by several old colonies or sections of distant clans, 
who had come under the auspices of different lord-superiors 
to occupy the places of those ancient inhabitants upon whom 
confiscation and death had fallen on account of their ac- 


cession to the long-sustained and to Bruce almost fatal op- 
position of M'Dougall of Lorn. The inhabitants of Breadal- 
bane were thus made up from five or more separate sources, 
and except the M'Nabs a supposed branch of the clan 
Gregor none of the sections had a chieftain. This gave 
the Laird of Glenurchy the precious opportunity of establish- 
ing his judicial authority, and the band of manrent and calp 
of Ceann-Cinne naturally followed, from men alive to feelings 
of gratitude, for having been by the aid of the Bailie rescued 
from oppressors and confirmed in their rights. Every act 
of judicial authority added, what was both absolutely 
necessary for the safe exercise of that authority and the 
gradual vindication of feudal possession, a willing recruit 
to the standard of the " justiciar." It may sound strange 
to present landlords that, three hundred years ago, a pro- 
prietor could exercise no privilege of property till mutual 
kindness produced a bond of brotherhood between him 
and his vassals, till a democratic election confirmed the 
royal charter, and the calp of clanship superseded the 
feudal enfeoffment. No suspicion appears then to have 
crossed the Celtic mind that despicable parchment right to 
the soil was sufficient to confer the personal pre-eminence 
which, in the absence of hereditary chiefs, they, even they, 
with their wild notions of unrestrained freedom, had, for 
the sake of internal union, and for giving edge to defensive 
or offensive policy, found it at all times requisite to support, 
but which as uniformly they had insisted upon creating for 
themselves, through means of a rude election, while other- 
wise stubbornly refusing to receive the current coins of 
dignity and authority, ready made to hand by the royal mint. 
The sons of the Gael were no Macsycophants indoctrinated 


in the sublime art of " booing;" feudalism, therefore, cun- 
ningly enveloped her crest in Highland tartan, and invoked 
obedience and love by the strict observance of clannish 
customs ; nor was it until the middle of the eighteenth 
century that she finally dropped the mantle, and Highlanders 
bent before the hat of Gessler. 

With such reasonable hopes of consolidating his rights 
and doubling his manrent, by the extending acknowledg- 
ment of his judicial character, it is not wonderful the Laird 
of Glenorchy should see with rage, and meet with ani- 
mosity, whatever threatened to stop him in that progress. 
The M'Gregors sinned in this line beyond the hope of 
forgiveness, The families of the clan on Glenorchy's lands 
were taught to look for the redress of injuries, not to the 
baron-superior and his court, but to the distant and 
almost landless chief of the M'Gregors ; nay, did they 
incline of their free will to choose the nearer and surer 
protection, the fate of Allaster Ower was an awful warning 
to all intending to betray Clan Alpin's pine. The murder- 
ous " whingearis " stopped the progress of Glenorchy, who 
resolved to quench the sudden terror in the heart blood of 
the author. The murder was committed on the 22nd 
November, 1551, and four months after, the nth March, 
1551 (for the new year commenced in the latter end of 
March), the following bond was signed viz. : 

" Be it kend till all men, us James Stewart, sone to Walter Stewart 
of Ballindoran, Alexander Dormond, and Malcome Dormond, yonger, 
to have gevin our band of manrent to Colline Campbell of Glenurqu- 
hay and his airis ; Duncane Campbell, sone and apperand air to 
Archibald Campbell of Glenlioun, and his airis ; for all the days of 
our lyvetyme in all actionis. And in speciale that we sail depone 
ourselffis at our haill power, wytht our kyn freyndis and part-takaris 


to invade and persew to the deid Duncane Laudossch M'Gregour, 
Gregour his sone, thair seruandis, part-takaris, and complices in all 
bundis and contreis quhare ever thai sail happyn to mak resydens, be 
reasoun that thai are our deidlie enemies and our Souerane Ladei's 
rebellis, &c. &c. At the He of Lochtay, nth March, 1551." 

This bond may have possibly been the cause of the 
horrible slaughter of Drummond of Drummond-Ernoch in 
after years. 

While the old fox appeared beset on all hands, and 
Glenorchy breathed nothing but death and revenge, lo ! 
unexpectedly, a change comes o'er the spirit of the dream : 

" Be it kend till all men Me Colyne Campbell of Glenurquhay grants 
me to have ressavit Duncane M ( Gregour and Gregour his sone in my 
menteinance in all thair just actions in so far as I may of law, 
and gude conscience. And atour to have forgevin the saidis Dun- 
cane and Gregour thair servandis complices and part-takers, the zeill 
of luf and gude conscience moving me to the samyn, all maner of ac- 
tionis and faltis that ony of them hes committit to me providing 
alwais that the saidis Duncane and Gregour fulfil thair band and 
manrent maid to me and my airis in all pointis. Forquhilkis 
grantis me to have given to the saidis Duncane and Gregour thair 
eschetis of all thair gudis movabill and unmovabill, quhilkis I pur- 
chist at my Lord Governouris handis, tha beand for the tyme our 
Sourane Ladeis rebellis, and now ressavit to hir heines peace and my 
favouris In witnes herof I hes subscriuit this my letter of mentein- 
ance at the He of Lochtay the secund day of Maii the year of God M. 
vc. fifty tua yeris befor thir witnes Alexander Menzies of Rannocht, 
Patrick Campbell, David Toscheocht," &c. 

As the names are not retained, I do not know whether 
or not the following legend explains the sudden change on 
the part of the Laird to mercy's side: M'Gregor of Dunan, 
in Rannoch, had committed great herships on the lands of 
the Campbells in every direction, and particularly on those 


of Campbell of Glenorchy. The latter did all in his power 
to take him dead or alive ; but M'Gregor, notwithstanding, 
not only eluded his enemy, but continued to commit greater 
depredations. At last Glenorchy offered terms of amity 
and peace, and proposed a conference at the newly-built 
Castle of Balloch (Taymouth) with a certain number of 
friends on both sides, to settle disputes and ratify the re- 
lations of friendship into which the parties were about to 
enter. Glenorchy did all this deceitfully, thinking thus to 
capture McGregor and his principal followers when off their 
guard. M'Gregor, not suspecting the snare, set off for 
Balloch at the time proposed, accompanied by the number 
of men agreed upon. On the top of Drummond, the hill 
overhanging the castle and meadows of Taymouth, they 
encountered an old man, who, on bended knees, before a 
huge grey stone, appeared to be repeating his orisons in a 
state of great perturbation. Struck with a thing so un- 
usual, M'Gregor, drawing near, discovered the old man was 
repeating the prayers for the dead, with which ever and 
anon the following sentence mixed " To thee, grey stone, 
I tell it, but when the black bull's head appears, McGregor's 
sword can hardly save the owner's fated head. Deep the 
dungeon sharp the axe and short the shrift." M'Gregor 
saw at once the toils were set for him, and that the old man 
had taken this round-about way of apprising him of the vile 
conspiracy, for fear of the Laird, and in consequence of 
being sworn to secrecy. He proceeded on his way, how- 
ever. Glenorchy received him with the most cordial ap- 
pearance of kindness. Dinner was laid for them in the 
great hall of the castle, each Campbell having a M'Gregor 
on his right hand a circumstance giving the latter a very 


decided advantage in the melee which followed. The intro- 
duction of the black bull's head, and a simultaneous clatter 
of armed men in an adjoining chamber, put the M'Gregors 
into an attitude of defence. Snatching the dagger stuck in 
the table before him, which a few moments previous he had 
used in cutting his meat, M'Gregor held its point within an 
inch of the heart of Glenorchy, while with the other 
hand he compressed his throat. His men following 
promptly the example of the leader, a scene ensued not 
unlike that in which Quentin Durward was chief actor in 
the hall of the Bishop of Liege, with this difference, how- 
ever, that the McGregors carried off captive the Baron and 
some of his principal retainers ; the armed vassals, at the 
earnest request of the Baron himself, whose life the least 
attempt on their part to rescue him would endanger, offer- 
ing no resistance. M'Gregor crossed by the boat at Ken- 
more, dragged his captives to the top of Drummond, and 
there and then forced Glenorchy to subscribe an ample 
pardon and remission for all past injuries, and a promise 
of friendship for the future. The tradition does not inform 
us whether the Laird kept to his promise or not ; and, in- 
deed, from the omission of names it is otherwise an uncer- 
tain guide; but it would harmonise well with the character 
of Duncan Ladosach, not less renowned for cunning than 
courage, to act the part of the M'Gregor of the story ; and 
upon the whole, it is not improbable the remission already 
given was extorted in some such way from Cailean Liath 
of Glenurchay. 

The foreseen result followed upon Duncan's death. It 
removed the fear which deterred the separate chieftains 
and leading men from submitting to fedual superiors, and 


thereby the ligature of clanship was broken for the time, 
and the clan lost for some years the commanding attitude of 
unbroken union, consequent upon implicit obedience to the 
rule and behests of the natural chief or his representative. 
The M'Gregor, almost yet a child, became, on the death of 
the Tutor, a ward of the Campbells ; and on coming to 
man's estate, he soon discovered the self-constituted 
guardians had so well employed the opportunities afforded 
in his years of nonage, that his authority over the clan had 
been sadly undermined, and his personal consequence had 
shrunk considerably. It may be worth while to notice some 
of the leading McGregors who made their submission to Glen- 
orchy within a month or two after Duncan's execution. 

"At the Isle of Lochtay, 3d August, 1552. William M'Olcallum, in 
Rannocht, Malcum his sone, and Donald Roy M'Olcallum Glass, 
bindis and obleissis thame, &c. to be afald servantis to Colyne Camp- 
bell of Glenurquhay, and to his airis mail quhom thai haif elecht and 
chosyn for thair cheyffis and masteris, renunceand M'Gregour thair 
chief," &c. &c. 

4th August, 1552. Malcum M'Aynmallycht (son of ' John the cursed' 
probably called so on account of being excommunicated by the 
Church), William and Malcum M'Neill VcEwin and Duncane thair 
brother, renouncing M'Gregour thair chief, bind themselves to Colyne 
Campbell of Glenurquhay giving him thair calps ; the said Colyne 
being bound to defend them in thair possessions, or to give them 
others within his own boundis." 

2 ist August, 1522. " Gregour M 'Gregour, son of the deceased Sir 
James M'Gregour, Dean of Lesmoir," &c. &c. 

9th September, 1552. Donald Beg M'Acrom, Duncane and 
Williame his brothers, dwelling in the bray of Weyme, bind them- 
selves to Colyne Campbell, having overgiven the Laird of M' Gregour," 
&c. &c. 

2ist December, 1552. "Duncan M 'An drew in . . . Duncane 
& Malcum his sons, renounce the Laird M'Gregour," &c. &c. 


M'Gregor of Roro's bond to the same effect appears to 
have been lost ; but from the terms of a subsequent one, 
granted in 1585 by the head of that house, there is every 
proof that " Duncan Gour " (Gour or Gear signifies short) 
had been as submissive as the rest. The Laird of Glenor- 
chy did not confine his views to simply obtaining the 
fealty and subjection of the M'Gregors residing on his own 
lands and within the bounds of his proper jurisdiction ; on 
the contrary, three of the preceding bonds were granted 
by parties that in the eye of the law owed the duty of 
vassals to the Lairds of Struan and Weem. When the 
M'Gregors had a little time to recover from their conster- 
nation the bonds were no longer granted, or, if granted, 
were worded as the following, in far less unqualified terms : 
" Bond by Duncane M'Alyster VcEwyn in Drumcastell 
(Rannoch) to Colyne Campbell of Glenorchy his allegi- 
ance to the Queens Grace and McGregor his chief being ex- 
cepted disponing to the said Colyne Campbell the best 
four-footed beast that shall be in his possession in time of 
his decease and latter end, and called his calp," &c. &c. 


THE youthful Gregor, when he reached manhood in 
1560, found the clan prostrate at the feet of 
Glenorchy, who laid the cope-stone upon all other injuries 
by refusing to enfeoff the young chief in his little patri- 
mony of Stronmelochan and Glenstrae, the superiority 
of which Glenorchy had bought from the house of Argyle 
in 1554. Breaking the bonds by which not a few of them 
were fettered, the clan instinctively rose to revenge the 
culminating affront to their chief; and in the hour of 
vengeance following years of oppression, perpetrated 
enormities scarcely inferior to the cruelties practised by 
American Indians upon vanquished foes. 

The man they had to deal with was more than their 
match. Colin of Glenorchy was not the coward to shrink 
effeminately before the storm of savageness, by his firm, 
far-seeing policy provoked. On both sides it was pro- 
fessedly a war of extermination, and at first the M'Gregors 
had the advantage, but soon the foe, as 'twere by magic 
art, "summoned spirits from the vasty deep," and unex- 
pected actors came upon the stage. In 1563 the ravages 
of the M'Gregors having, apparently, extended over the 
whole central and western Highlands and adjacent parts 
of the Lowlands, induced the Secret Council to issue 
against them a commission of fire and sword. The follow- 
ing were the commissioners ; The Earl of Moray in 


Braemar, Badenoch, Lochaber, Strathnairn, and Strath- 
dearn ; the Earl of Argyle in Argyle, Lorn, Lennox, and 
Menteith; the Earl of Athole in Athole, Strathardle, Glen- 
shee, and Dunkeld ; the Earl of Errol in Logiealmond ; 
Lord Ogilvy in the Brae of Angus; Lord Ruthven in Strath- 
braan ; Lord Drummond in Strathearn ; Colin Campbell 
of Glenorchy in Breadalbane and Balquhidder ; and John 
Grant of Freuchy in Strathspey, Strathavon, and Brae of 
Strathbogie. Colin of Glenorchy, at the same time, was 
armed with a separate and additional commission of fire 
and sword against the harbourers of the Clan Gregor in 
whatever part of the kingdom they were found " a proof," 
as Mr. Gregory truly observes, " that the Secret Council 
not only neglected to provide a place to which the Clan 
Gregor might when ejected from their homes retire, 
but absolutely attempted to exclude them from every 
spot on which they might on retiring seek shelter 
or even existence." The separate commission was 
cancelled within two years on a remonstrance pre- 
sented by the barons of Strathearn. The general com- 
mission was likewise recalled, or superseded by a new 
one issued in 1564 to only two of the former commis- 
sioners, the Earls of Argyle and Athole ; these being 
allowed to grant subordinate ones to their friends and 

Colin of Glenorchy, in putting down the clan, acted 
freely upon the old proverb, " set a thief against a thief," 
or rather anticipated by fully two centuries the fundamental 
maxim of homeopathy " Similia similibus cttrantur" 
To catch the thieves of Rannoch and Breadalbane he used 
the thieves of Keppoch and Glencoe ; for curing the body 


politic of the M'Gregor-fever, he skilfully prescribed a dose 
of M'Donnell-bark. 

We have already seen the Laird of Weem, immediately 
upon a charter of the lands of Rannoch being signed in his 
favour, constituting Huntly special constable to bring his 
newly-acquired domain into a condition compatible with 
the brooking of his rights as lord and master. Enough 
has also been told of Duncan Ladosach and the " brokin 
men " to show how ill Huntly had succeeded. Menzies, 
unable to cope with the M'Gregors, granted again a tack 
of the most rebellious part of the Barony to Campbell of 
Glenorchy, who, if not so powerful as the "Cock of the 
North," was at least a nearer auxiliary and a more deter- 
mined foe to the clan. It was uphill work, but by-and-bye 
Duncan Ladosach slept quietly in his bloody grave in the 
kirkyard of Fortingall ; one M'Gregor submitted after 
another, and all appeared to go on in Rannoch as else- 
where, " merry as a marriage bell," when lo ! one morning 
in 1560, the Laird of Glenorchy saw the clan like the 
Phoenix rising from its funeral pyre, and the laborious 
scheming of years " dissolving like the baseless fabric of a 
vision." The perplexed baron seized upon the first help 
which offered itself, and here is the curious result : 

" Contract between Glenurchay & Cappycht,'' (i.e., Keppoch). " At 
Ballocht the xxv day of Aprile, M. vc. Ixiii yeris. It is agreit betwix 
Colyne Campbell of Glenurquhay on that ane part, and Rannald 
M'Rannald M'Couilglas off Cappycht on that uther part, in manner 
following : The said Colyne havand of our Souerane Lady the gift of 
escheit of the Clangregour now being our Souerane Ladies rebellis 
of their tackis rowmis stedings guids and geir : and als havand of 
the Lard of Weyme in lifrent, the twelf merkland of Rannocht, on 
the west syde of the water of Erachtie- to haif set in assedation to 


the said Rannald his airis maill and subtenentis of nay hiear degre 
nor hymself the tuenty pound of Rannocht, auld extent, with their 
pertinentis, with the Loch, lie &* fishingis of the samyn for all the 
days that the said Colyne or his airis hes entres to the forsaidis 
sandis, with cornis, crop, plennesinge upoun the saidis landis, except 
the gudis and geir within Glenco, and my Lord of Ergitts bundis, 
pertening to the said Colyne be escheit (? ? ?) : witht power to set the 
saidis landis to subtenentis oflawer degre nor hymself, of ony surname 
(the Clangregour alanerlie except) payand yeirlie for the forsaid 
twelf merkland of Rannocht, tene poundis maill to the said Colyne 
during his lyvrent ; and als for the landis on the est syde of Erachtie, 
during the gift of the tackis of the said Colyne escheit malis and 
deweteis usit and wont conforme to the payment that M'Gregour 
suld haif maid to the Lard of Weyme." [Colin then binds himself 
and heirs to do all in their power towards getting a renewal of tacks, 
&c., in favour of Rannald.] " And the said Rannald sail labour and 
manure the forsaidis landis of Rannocht, and mak his principal 
residens thairupon, ay and quhill he may bring the samyn to quietnes 
for the common weill of the cuntre ; and sail nocht suffer ony of the 
Clangregour to haif entres and intromission of the forsaid landis and 
als sail keip the forist and woddis, and the inhabitants sail serve the 
said Colyne and airis. Atour the said Rannald and his airis forsaidis, 
oblisses thame to persew at thair utmost power samony of the Clan- 
gregour as ar now our Souerane Ladies rebellis, and apprehend and 
bring thame to the said Colyne and his airis to be punesit according 
to the lawis : And in cace thay may nocht be tane, to be slane accord- 
ing to our Souerane Ladies commission gevin thairupon for stanching 
of sik malefactouris," &c. A fortnight after, 6th May, 1563, was 
signed a " Contract of protection and manrent, between Collyne 
Campbell of Glenurquhay and John Oyg M'Ane Abrycht of Glencho j 
the said Collyne being bound to defend the said John Oyg M'Ane 
Abrycht in his possessions, and specially in his landis of Glencho : 
and the said John Oyg M'Ane Abrycht being bound to serve the 
said Collyne Campbell against all persons, excepting the authority 
and my Lord of Argyle, providing, that if he will not instantly serve 
against the Clangregour his contract shall be void." 

Cameron, tutor of Glennevis, also offered help from the 
same quarter. Argyle and the principal men of his house 


signed a bond to Glenorchy, against the Clangregour, at 
" Inneraray, 9th July, 1564, by which the west was sealed 
up to the hapless race. In the south, the Clanlaurane of 
Balquhidder mortal enemies of the name of M'Gregor, 
ever since, as Duncan Ladosach confesses in his " Testa- 
ment" of them, 

" In the passioun oulk into Balquhidder 
Seven and twenty we slew into the place 
Be fyre and sworde : thai gat na uther grace " 

had chosen Colin Campbell their chief by a bond dated 
nth March, 1559, and now did yeomanly service in the 
war with the old foe. A " Contract against the Clan- 
gregour signed at Ballocht 6th May, 1569, be Johne Earl 
of Arhole, James Menzies of that Ilk, William Stewart of 
Grantullie, and their kin and friends," closed the circle on 
the north and east, so that from his central position in the 
Isle of Lochtay, Glenorchy watched the vibrations of the 
network securing the victims as they were successively and 
successfully enmeshed. 

A fierce enemy of the clan employed at this time by 
Glenorchy was James Mac an Stalkair or Robertson, 
several stories of whose prowess are yet extant, and regard- 
ing whom these curt notices occur in the Chronicles of 
Fortingall : 

" Necatus fuit Patricius M'Ayn vc. Cowill vc. Ayn per Jacobum 
M'Gestalcar dpud Ardewynnek, sepitmo die Decembris (1564), et 
sepultus octauo die eiusdem apud Inchadin in tumulo patrueli" 
" Patrick M'Ayn Vc. Cowill Vc. Ayn, slain by James M'Gestalcar at 
Ardeonaig, on the 7th December (1564), and buried at Inchadin on 
the 8th of the same month, in his uncle's grave." 


There is no need of cumbering ourselves with the original 
of the next entries, a version shall suffice : 

" Gregor, son of the Dean of Lismore, alias M'Gregor, and Robert 
MacConil Vc. Gregor, were slain on the nth June, viz., on the day of 
Pentecost, after midnight, and their house was burned by James 
M'Gestalcar and his accomplices year of our Lord 1565 : they were 
buried in the same grave in the choir of Inchadin. God is the just 
judge, knowing what is hidden, and punishing according to His will, 
even to the third and fourth generation." 

Gregor was one of the revolted bond-granters : and there- 
fore was early visited with a full vial of Glenorchy's wrath ; 
the chief of Glenstrae, for the very opposite reason, had 
every motive to protect, and when that was impossible, to 
revenge him. Accordingly the next entry in the curate's 
book is the following : 

"James M'Gestalcar Vc. Phatrik and his accomplices put to death 
by Gregor McGregor of Stronmelecan and his followers at Ardeonaig, 
24th July, 1 565 : He was a very wicked wretch, and an oppressor of 
the poor ; whence it is said, thou shalt not suffer evil-doers to live 
upon the earth." 

In a short note in the vernacular the curate finally sums up 
the troubles of the same year, 1565 : 

" Gret hayrschyppis in mony pairts of Scotland, in Stratherne, in 
Lennox, in Glenalmond, in Braydalbin, baytht slattyr and oppessyon 
beand mayd in syndry udyr partis be the Erll of Ergill and M'Gregor 
and ther complesis. Siclyk in Strathardil mony men slayn be the 
men of Atholl and the Stuarts of Lorn." 

M'Gregor from the commencement of the feud, was 
fighting in a desperate cause ; and when, as described, the 
bands of coalition were tightened and secured in 1569, his 


doom could easily be foretold without any illumination 
from the second sight. M'Gregor, when a ward of the 
Campbells, had been consigned to the care of the Laird of 
Glenlyon, who honourably and kindly discharged the duties 
of a guardian. At this early period a mutual attatchment, 
destined to have a lasting influence on the fates of both, 
and in its ultimate results comprising materials for a bloody 
tragedy, sprung up between the young chief and the 
daughter of the Laird. It does not appear that Glenlyon 
frowned upon the youthful lovers ; nor, perhaps, had the 
policy of his clan, and chiefly that of the Glenorchy branch, 
with which he was most nearly allied, left him a free agent, 
would he have sought a better son-in-law than the heir of 
Glenstrae. The Laird's name occurs in the combination 
against Duncan Ladosach ; nay, he was present subse- 
quently at the death of Gregor himself, for which he earned 
the curse of his daughter ; but in these matters he could 
not help himself, and his true sentiments towards the per- 
secuted clan are much better learned from the fact, that it 
was in the heat of the feud with Glenurchay " Gregour Roy 
marriet the Laird of Glenlyoun's dochter." True enough, 
tradition confidently affirms M'Gregor had been with pur- 
posed treachery entangled by the Campbells into a matri- 
monial net ; but as this is coupled with another assertion 
equally unhesitating, that it was " Black Duncan with the 
cowl" who had given his daughter to the M' Gregor a fact 
which the "Black Book" and every other contemporary 
authority prove to be utterly groundless the known in- 
correctness of the latter assertion leaves nothing of credit 
to the former. Still, with all its confusion of dates and 
persons, there is clearly in the story some infusion of truth. 


The Clan Gregor, after the first flush, languished in their 
efforts, while the exterminating energy of their foes daily 
gathered strength. Unable to keep the field openly, they 
gradually sank into that state denoted by the old Proverb, 
of being "men with their heads under the wood," and 
carried on a skulking predatory warfare of creachs and 
spulzies by small bands operating in different places at the 
same time, thus obliging their enemies to divide for the 
sake of self-protection ; and so rather risked being cut off in 
detail than hazarded any general engagement in which the 
warriors of the clan might all be cut down. * " Duncan with 
the Cowl" the son and heir of Glenorchy, was in the latter 
years of the feud at the head of his father's men, and tasked 
all his cunning to capture M'Gregor, knowing if deprived 
of their chief the clan might resume the yoke of servitude 
to the family of Glenorchy which they now so indignantly 
spurned. Ascertaining that Gregor frequently visited his 
spouse, and that in spite of his bond to the contrary the 
Laird of Glenlyon connived at the stolen interviews, and if 
not actually assisting, always allowed the rebel to escape; 
" Black Duncan " laid his plans so as to astonish all parties, 
and having secretly dogged his steps, captured at last the 
unfortunate chief in Glenlyon, when enjoying a fancied 
security in the embraces of his wife. 

Gregor was taken in August, 1569, and it was probably 
owing to the efforts made by the Glenlyon family that his 
life was spared until the following spring. In the interval 
great events for Scotland occurred. Regent Murray was 
assassinated on the 23rd January, 1570. The Queen's party 
prepared to raise the standard of revolt. The state of the 
nation probably hastened McGregor's fate. Glenorchy 


and the barons associated with him had injured the 
M'Gregors too deeply for reconciliation ; and, therefore, 
unless crushed, they knew the desperate clan, in the civil 
commotion which appeared then inevitable, would strike 
right and left, independent of political factions, blows of 
sweet revenge upon all enemies. The execution of Gregor 
was skilfully surrounded with all the pomp and circumstance 
of justice. It is simply entered by the Curate of Fortingall 
"The vij. da of Apryill, Gregor M'Gregor of Glensra 
heddyt at Belloch anno sexte and ten yeris." The compiler 
of the Black Book, in recording the life and deeds of " Colene 
Sext Laird of Glenurquhay," ushers it in with a flourish of 
trumpets : 

" He (Colin) was ane great justiciar all his tyme, throch the quhilk 
he sustenit the deidlie feid of the Clangregour ane lang space. And 
besydes that he caused executt to the death mony notable lymmaris 
he beheiddit the Laird of M'Gregour himself at Kandmoir in presence 
of the Erie of Atholl, the Justice- Clerk, and sundrie uthir nobillmen." 

To this worshipful company the daughter of Glenlyon 
who clung with affectionate tenacity to the husband hunted 
and hated by her powerful kinsmen, and now condemned 
to undergo a rebel's doom came to implore forgiveness 
and mercy. It was too late ; the deed was done, the 
victim immolated. " Black Duncan," yet a mere youth, 
but cruel and cunning from the cradle, when she broke out 
into wailing lamentation, sneeringly comforted his hapless 
cousin with an assurance that she would soon be married 
to the Baron of Dall (a MacOmie, or " Son of Thomas ") 
and as his wife forget the rebel M'Gregor ! 

With this lady, M'Gregor had two sons viz., Allaster 
Roy M'Gregor who was shamefully betrayed by Argyle, 


and executed and hanged at the Market Cross of Edinburgh, 
1604 ; and " John Dow," who fell at the battle of Glenfruin, 
fighting against the Laird of Luss, in the year 1603. 
" John Dow," or Black John, was, it would seem, born after 
his father's execution ; and it was in the form of a lullaby 
for her posthumous child that the grief-blighted mother 
couched the tale of sorrow, so pathetic, although deeply 
tinged with the barbarous madness of misfortune. The 
song referred to is the following : 

" On Lammas morn I rejoiced with my love : ere noon my heart 
was pressed with sorrow. 

" Ochain, ochain, ochain uiridh, 
Sad my heart my child : 
Ochain, ochain, ochain, uiridh, 
Thy father hears not our moan ! 

" Under ban be the nobles and friends who pained me so : who un- 
awares came on my love, and overmastered him by guile. Ochain. 

" Had there been twelve of his race, and my Gregor at their head, 
my eye would not be dim with tears, nor my child without father. 
Ochain, &c. 

" They laid his head upon an oaken block : they poured his blood 
on the ground : oh / had I there a cup I would drink of it my fill ! 
Ochain, &c. 

" Oh ! that my father* had been sick, and Colint in the plague, 
and all the Campbells in Balloch wearing manacles. Ochain. 

" I would have put * Gray Colin ' under lock, and ' Black Duncan ' in 
a dungeon, though Ruthven's daughter^ would be wringing her hands. 
Ochain, &c. 

" I went to the plains of Balloch, but rest found not there : I tore 
the hair from my head, the skin from my hands. Ochain, &c. 

" Had I the wings of the lark, the strength of Gregor in my arm, the 

* Duncan Roy of Glenlyon. 
t Her Brother Cailean Gorach, 

J Catherine, daughter of William Lord Ruthven, second wife of "Cailean Liath" and 
mother of "Black Duncan with the cowl." 


highest stone in the castle would have been the one next the ground. 
Ochain, &c. 

" Oh ! that Finlairg were wrapt in flames, proud Taymouth lying in 
ashes, and fair-haired Gregor of the white hands in my embrace ! 
Ochain, &c. 

" All others have apples ; I have none : my sweet lovely apple has 
the back of his head to the ground. Ochain, &c. 

" Other men's wives sleep soft in their homes : I stand by the bed- 
side wringing my hands. Ochain, &c. 

" Better follow Gregor through heath and wold, than be with the 
mean little Baron of Dall in a house of stone and lime. Ochain, &c. 

" Better be with Gregor putting the cattle to the glen, than with the 
mean little Baron drinking wine and beer. Ochain, &c. 

" Better be with Gregor under sackcloth of hair, than wear silken 
sheen as the mean Baron's bride. Ochain, &c. 

" Though it snowed and drifted, and was a day of sevenfold storm, 
Gregor would find me a rock, in whose shelter we might lie secure. 
" Ba hu, ba hu, my orphan young, 
For still a tender plant art thou, 
And much I fear the day won't come 
When thou shalt earn thy father's fame." 


BY the death of Gregor, the clan was left again without 
a head or rallying point. Some immediately granted 
anew bonds of manrent and submission to the barons on 
whose lands they resided. Another party, headed by Pat- 
rick, grandson of Duncan Ladosach, scornfully refused any 
compromise, and struck redoubled blows of vengeance on 
the traitors to the spirit of clanship, who yielded to the de- 
mands of Glenorchy or any other. Three months after the 
execution of the chief, the band, led by Patrick, came upon 
a company of Glenorchy 's men in Glenfalloch, and slew 
eighteen of them and their captain. Two weeks after this 
exploit, the same lawless leader committed the following 
atrocity on two of the principals of the Stronfernan 
M'Gregors, who had granted bonds to Cailean Liath : 

" The xxiiij da of September, the yer of God ane thousand five 
hundyr sexte xij yeris, Allestyr M' Allestyr and his son, ane yonge 
barne of sevin yer aid, callyt Gregor, and Duncan, brodyr tyl Allestyr, 
al slain in Stronferna be Patryk Dow M'Gregor V'Condoquhy 
Lawdossyt, with his complesis, and be the drath of Allestyr Gald 
M'V'Gregor. The saidis Allestyr and his son and brodyr zyrdyth in 
Fortyrgill the awcht and xx da of September, Si bene fecit sic habuit? 

Black Patrick wished clearly to grasp the vicarious 
sceptre of regent or tutor of the clan, wielded by his father 
during the minority of the preceding chief; but the clan as 
a whole refusing to support his pretensions, he never got 


beyond being captain of the " broken men." With the help 
of these, he kept up for a few years a widespread system of 
spoliation and outrage through the districts of Strathearn, 
Breadalbane, Athole and Lennox. The feudal barons cut 
off his band in detail. One of his principal subordinates, 
Donald Dow M'Conil V'Quhewin, was "heddyt at Ken- 
more be Collyn Campbell of Glenurquhay, the sevint da of 
Apryl, 1574." This man possessed the lands of Duneaves 
in Fortingall, and we shall have to say more of one of his 
descendants in the sequel. On the 4th October, 1574, Pat- 
rick himself was slain in Balquhidder by the " Clandowil- 
chayr," a section of his own surname who disapproved of 
his violent proceedings. His followers, inured to predatory 
habits and a life of warfare with all men, seemed to have 
kept together, and to have become known afterwards by 
the designation of M'Eaghs, or " children of the mist." 

The interregnum between Black Patrick's death, 1574, 
and 1588, when Allaster Roy, eldest son of the ill-fated 
Chief of Glenstrae, came of age, was diligently improved 
by Colin of Glenorchy and his son, "Black Duncan with 
the cowl? who succeeded him in 1583. The M'Gregors of 
Roro renewed the old bonds of manrent to "Black Duncan" 
at Balloch, 5th July, 1585. "Bond of Gregour Makcon- 
aquhie V'Gregour in Roro, Alestir M'Ewin V'Conquhie 
there, Gregour Makolchallum in Innerbar in Glenlyon : 
Duncan Makgregour, his son in Kildie, and William Mak- 
gregour son to the said Gregour there, to Duncan Campbell 
of Glenurquhay, showing, that their forbears had granted 
the like bond to the deceased Coleine Campbell of Clenur- 
quhay, and obliging themselves, if it should happen that 
Makgregour, by himself or accomplices, should break upon 


the said Duncan or his heirs, their lands, tenants, and pos- 
sessions, to renounce him as their chief, and to take part 
with the said Duncan against him." But the experience 
of the last feud had convinced Glenorchy of the evanes- 
cent effect of these bonds when a question affecting the 
honour of the clan or the prerogatives of the chief was the 
matter in debate ; and he was therefore anxious to add to 
the assurance of voluntary submission the better-recognised 
title and right of lord-superior. As formerly mentioned, 
the superiority of the lands occupied, on " middleman " 
tenure, by the house of Roro was vested in the family of 
Menzies. The substance of the bond given below shows by 
what unscrupulous means Glenorchy sought to wrest from 
the Laird of Weem the right which he held of him already 
as tenant : 

" Johne, Earl of Athole, binds himself not to appoint nor agree with 
James Menzies of that Ilk in regard to any controversy, until Glenur- 
quhay should first obtain in feu or long tacks from Menzies his lands 
lying on the west side of the water of Lyoun, holden of him by the 
said Duncane ; and that he would not reset, nor allow to be resetted 
within his bounds, any goods belonging to James Menzies or his ten- 
ants, or show them any favour ; that if the said James Menzies should 
pursue the said Duncane, or be pursued by him, he would assist the 
said Duncane with all his forces ; and that he should give the like as- 
sistance against the Clangregour if they should render aid to Menzies. 
At Dunkeld, 2$th June, 1585." 

By a mutual bond, dated 2Oth March, 1584, he got 
Strowan to bind himself to " cause all his tenants of the 
lands and barony of Ferney serve the Earl of Argyle and 
Duncan Campbell in hosting and hunting." On the break- 
ing out of the next horrible feud, this bond was amplified 
or changed into another, dated at Balloch, i6th October, 
1 590, bearing that " Donald Robertson of Strowan, finding 


that divers of the Clangregour occupied his lands and 
barony of Fernay, in the lordship of Descheor and Toyer, 
and Sheriffdome of Perth, against his will, so that he could 
not well remove them, binds himself and his heirs, if, by 
the assistance of Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenurquhay, he 
can remove them orderly, to put in their stead tenants 
bound to serve the said Sir Duncane in hosting, hunting, 
and obedience, as the tenants of the said lands did pre- 
viously, the said Sir Duncane being bound to defend the 
said tenants in their possessions." 

Allaster Roy being of age in 1589, claimed feudal 
enfeoffment of his property of Glenstrae. Glenorchy, the 
lord-superior, refused to grant the investiture. It would 
disarrange the whole policy of the Laird of Glenorchy 
should the chief of the Clan Gregor continue to hold the 
messuage of Stronmelochan, and have a legal base of opera- 
tion for his numerous and devoted followers. The affront 
put upon him in this matter precipitated the chief and those 
of his clan, who had since the last feud scrupulously kept 
aloof, into sharing and adopting the rash counsels and 
rasher deeds of the " brokin men," now styled " children of 
the mist," or M'Eaghs. 

In September, 1589, the M'Eaghs surprised John Drum- 
mond of Drummond-Ernoch in the forest of Glenartney 
and cut off his head. Probably the band of " brokin men " 
thought this a very justifiable vengeance for the aid given 
by the Drummonds in pursuing their first and ablest leader, 
" Duncan Ladosach, to the deid," or there might have been 
more recent feuds unrevenged ; but the slaughter was inde- 
fensible even by the very loose code of justice which the 
M'Gregors themselves acknowledged, for Drummond- 


Ernoch was at that very time doubly under the assurance of 
the clan. Worse still was the atrocity of bringing the dead 
man's head to the house of Ardvorlich, and stuffing the 
mouth with the bread and cheese given them by his sister. 
The consequences to the lady, and the child of whom she 
was about to become a mother, have been described in 
the pleasant Legend of Montrose, by Sir Walter Scott. 
Treated for nearly a century like wolves and beasts of 
prey, it was not reasonable to think the " brokin men " 
should conduct themselves like civilised creatures ; but this 
deed was so unmanly and execrable so violently opposed 
to the irregular chivalry which the clan, in the darkest 
phases of existence, manifested as a whole that we are 
forced to conclude some inexplicable and occult reasons led 
them into adopting the atrocious murder. The chief and 
principals of the clan had no hand in its perpetration, yet 
no sooner did they become aware of the slaughter than 
they gathered to the church of Balquhidder, and there in a 
most appalling manner made the deed of blood their own. 
The quarrel was one of extermination, and it was perhaps 
fitting that the reunion of the clan under a young chief, 
already affronted by the powerful enemy of his race in the 
tenderest point, and burning for revenge on his own ac- 
count, on account of his clan, and of his father's fate, should 
be cemented by the blood of a foeman ; but the strange thing 
was, that the quiet bond-granters, who had been obedient 
vassals to their different over-lords for twenty years, should, 
on such an apparently trivial quarrel, throw their engage- 
ments to the wind, and at once brave those dangers which 
the whole tenor of their lives showed they were pretty wil- 
ling to shun. But wonder as we may, the list of 200 clans- 


men mentioned nominatim in the commission of fire and 
sword issued by the Secret Council on this occasion, leaves 
no doubt of its being a general movement of the clan, in 
which the principals of the " three houses " participated. 

The nature of the proceedings by which the clan adopted 
the guilt of the " brokin men " is described in an Act of 
Privy-Council, dated Edinburgh, 4th February, 1589, in 
these terms : 

" Likeas, after ye murder committed, ye authors yrof cutted off ye 
said umqull Jo. Drummond's head, and carried the same to the Laird 
of M'Gregour, who, and the haill surname, of M'Gregours, purposely 
convened upoun the Sunday yrafter at the Kirk of Buchquhidder, qr 
they caused the said umqull John's head to be presented to ym, and 
yr avowing ye sd murder to have been committed by their communion, 
council, and determination, laid yr hands upoun the pow, and, in eith- 
nick and barbarous manner, swear to defend ye authors of ye sd mur- 
der, in maist proud contempt of our Sovrn Lord and his authoritie, 
and in evil example to other wicked lymmaris to do ye like, gif ys sail 
be suffered to remain unpunisched." 

I append Sir Alexander Boswell's poetical description of 
the same scene, as probably more interesting to most 
readers : The head of Drummond is on the altar, and 
over it is thrown the banner of the tribe. The Chief 

" And pausing, on the banner gazed : 
Then cried in scorn, his finger raised, 
( This was the boon of Scotland's king : ' 
And with a quick and angry fling, 
Tossing the pageant screen away, 
The dead man's head before him lay. 
Unmoved he scanned the visage o'er, 


The clotted locks were dark with gore, 

The features with convulsion grim, 

The eyes contorted, sunk, and dim, 

But unappall'd in angry mood, 

With lowering brow, unmoved he stood. 

Upon the head his bared right hand 

He laid, the other grasped his brand ; 

Then, kneeling, cried, ' To heaven I swear 

This deed of death I own and share ; 

As truly fully mine as though 

This my right hand had dealt the blow. 

Come, then, our foemen, one, come all ; 

If to revenge this caitiffs fall 

One blade is bared, one bow is drawn, 

Mine everlasting peace I pawn, 

To claim from them, or claim from him, 

In retribution, limb for limb. 

In sudden fray, or open strife 

This steel shall render life for life.' 

He ceased ; and at his beckoning nod, 

The clansmen to the altar trod ; 

Andoiot a whisper breathed around, 

And nought was heard of mortal sound, 

Save from the clanking arms they bore, 

That rattled on the marble floor ; 

And each, as he approached in haste, 

Upon the scalp his right hand placed : 

With livid lip, and gathered brow, 

Each uttered, in his turn, the vow. 

(Macgregor) watched the passing scene, 

And searched them through with glances keen, 

Then dashed a tear-drop from his eye 

Unbid it came he knew not why. 

Exulting high, he towering stood : 

* Kinsmen,' he cried, ' of Alpin's blood, 

And worthy of Clan Alpin's name, 

Unstained by cowardice and shame, 

E'en do, spare nocht, in time of ill, 

Shall be Clan Alpin's legend still.' " 


The following " bond to pursue the Clan M'Gregor for 
the murder of John Drummond " is formed in conformity 
with the Act of Privv Council : 

"Be it kend til all men, us undirsubscryvers, understanding be 
money actis maid nocht onlie be the Kings Maiesties progeni- 
touris, bat alsa be his Maiesties self, baith in Parliament and Privie 
Counsel, anent the daylie mourthouris, slauchteris, herschipis, and 
thiftis committit be clannis of hieland men upone the inhabitantes of 
the laiche countries, speciallie be the Clan of M'Gregouris Lyke as 
laitlie the said Clan of M'Gregour, in the moneth of September last 
bipast, maist creuallie slew and murtherit Johne Drumond of Drum- 
nerenocht in Glenarknay, being under thair doubil assurance, the ane 
grantit be My Lord Huntlie in thair name to my Lord of Montroiss, 
assuring that he and all his, and in speacial the said Johne Drum- 
mond, suid be unharmit in body and geir ay and quhil the said as- 
surance suld be upgiffin and dischargit on, to my Lord of Montroiss 
be the said Erie of Huntlie, quhilk onnavyss wes sa done afoir the 
said slauchter nor yit sensyne ; the uthir assurance being granted and 

given be in name of that hail clan, to my Lord of Inchaffray and 

all his kin, freindis, and surname, upone the Monunday befoir the said 
slauchter, sua that nather of the forsaid assurances was then outrun : 
The said Johne being directit be his Chief, at his Maiestie's command- 
ment, for getting of vennisoune, to have send to Edinburgh! to his 
Maiestie's mariage, the said clan cuttit and of-tuik his heid, and thair- 
after convenand the rest of that clan, and setting down the heid befoir 
thame, tharby causing thame authoreiss the said creuel murthour, 
lykas thai have done, mening thairby to continue the lyke or greter, 
gif thai be not prevented. - - - We undirsubscryvand, beand sua ten- 
tlir of blud alliance and nychtbouris, being sua oft of our freindis, ten- 
nentis, and seruandis slane, murtherit, and herriet be the said clan of 
befoir, and of mynd to revinge the said creuel murthour and bluide of 
the said John Drummond hes bundin ilk ane of us to tak treu and 
efald pairt togidder for perseuing of the said clan and committaris of 
the said murthour quhairevir thai may be apprehendit ; and gif thai 
sail happin to frequent or invade oney ane of us, we al sail repair and 
hald our forcis to the partie invadit ; and we bind us, upon our honour 
and lautie, that nane of us sail appoint or agre witht the said clan, by 


the advyss of the rest of the subsryveris. In witnes quhairof, we have 
subsryvit this present witht our handis, at Mugdoge, Inispeffre, and 
Drummond, and Balloch, the xx, xxiiij, and thrattie dayis of Octobir, 
1589, befoir thir witnes, Robert Grahame of Auchinclocht, William 
Drummond of Pitcarrnis. 


" DUNCAN CAMPBELL, of Glenurquhay. 

" JHONE, Earl of Montroiss. 



THE general commission of 1589 was to endure for the 
space of three years ; but as the commissioners, who 
had not all the same interest in the extinction of the Clan 
Gregor as Glenorchy, exhibited apparent backwardness in 
the matter, a particular commission was granted to Sir 
Duncan, July, 1591, in which the clan as a whole are de- 
scribed as rebels, and at the horn for diverse horrible of- 
fences. Fire and sword were denounced against the har- 
bourers of the clan ; power was given to convocate the 
lieges of Breadalbane, and the neighbouring districts, to 
follow up the pursuit ; and the surrounding noblemen and 
barons were commanded, under heavy penalties, to aid Sir 
Duncan. It had been now twice severely experienced, that 
the expedient of making them foreswear and up-give their 
chief by bonds, completely failed to gain the fidelity of the 
M'Gregors, and to make them true vassals of the Campbells. 
In this commission, therefore, the system was condemned by 
the supreme authority. The bonds of maintenance subsist- 
ing between Sir Duncan and the principals of the clan were 
cancelled, and all such engagements forbidden for the 
future. With such ample powers, Glenorchy was yet far 
from being master of Clan Alpin's fate. He, and his 
truculent cousin, the Laird of Lawers, chased them, it is 
true, from Breadalbane, surprised and slew some, and made 


others prisoners ; but the great body escaped into districts, 
where, notwithstanding the royal authority, he did not care 
to follow them. The Laird of Glenlyon, moved both by 
the claims of recent relationship and hereditary fosterage, 
openly set at nought the mandates and defied the venge- 
ance of Glenorchy, nay, divorced from bed and board the 
sister of Lawers, his second wife, because, as formerly 
mentioned, she madly schemed to betray a company of 
M'Gregors for whom her husband had prepared a hospi- 
table feast. Menzies connived at if he did not aid the flight 
of the fugitives to Rannoch. Argyle also, who found the 
clan very useful in prosecuting, with safety to himself, 
bloody feuds against his enemies, did not wish such hearty 
success to his kinsmen, Glenorchy, as to shut up absolutely 
the passes to the West. Sir Duncan, therefore, relinquished 
for a time the scheme of extermination, and, within a year 
after his commission was issued, obtained leave from the 
king to enter into new bonds of manrent and forgiveness 
with the rebels. Failing thus in the bolder course, Sir 
Duncan, for the first time, humbled himself to propitiate 
the M'Gregors, by surrendering a portion of their escheats. 
A family of M'Gregors derived from the house of Roro, 
known by the name of M'Quhewin or M f Queens, settled in 
Fortingall before 1498. In course of time, they came into 
possession of the lands of Duneaves. As already noticed, the 
representative of this family Donald Oig M'Quhewin, as- 
sociate of the grandson of Duncan Ladasoch was beheaded 
at Kenmore by Colin of Glenorchy, 1574. His lands fell 
into the hands of Colin and his successors by escheat. 
About 1594, these lands were restored by Sir Duncan to the 
nephew of Donald Oig ; for, on the 8th August of that 


year, we find " Patrik M'Queine, minister of God's word at 
Rothesay, ratifies all former bonds of manrent granted by 
Patrik Oig M'Queine his father, Donald Oig his father's 
brother, and others their friends and forebears, to Sir Dun- 
can Campbell of Glenurchay, knight, and his predecessors, 
and that because he had sufficient proof of Sir Duncan's 
goodwill, especially in giving him possession of the lands 
of Easter Tenaif (Duneaves), which he could not enjoy 
without the assistance of Sir Duncan ; and obliges himself 
and his heirs to give to Sir Duncan hosting, hunting, and 
all other due service, performed by his predecessors out of 
the lands of Easter and Wester Tenaif, Auchater, and other 
lands possessed by him ; to give Sir Duncan calp and 
bairn's part of gear, and not to dispose of said lands with- 
out Sir Duncan's consent, else such deed to be ipso facto 
null and void." 

Patrik, in the course of six years, was deprived of the 
lands thus restored. Sir Duncan, however, did not find it 
so cheap or pleasant to keep false reckoning with the 
minister of Rothesay, and his brother-complainer, the 
Baron of " Curquhyn," as with the more warlike and less 
astute principals of the clan. A memorandum to the 
following effect appears in the Black Book : 

" The said Sir Duncan wes wardit in the Castell of Edinbruch in 
moneth of Junii, in the zeir of God 1601, throch the occasioun of cer- 
tane fals leis and forged inventis of ane Donald Monteith, alias Barroun 
Curquhyn, and ane uther callit Patrik McOuene, ane deboysched 
and depryved minister, quhilks fals and forged inventiounis and calum- 
neis alledgit, nochwithstanding they wer never qualefeit nor provin, zit 
in respect of the pooir and gredie courteouris for the tyme, the said Sir 
Duncan was detenit in warde till he payit to the king his courteouris 
fourtie thousand markis." 


Between 1593 and 1600, several schemes were proposed 
for training and civilizing the clan without going to ex- 
tremity. In 1596, Allaster Roy appeared before the King 
and Council at Dunfermline, took the oath of allegiance to 
be his Majesty's " house-hald " man, and bound himself 
for the good behaviour of his clan. On this, and several 
other occasions, the chief exhibited a sincere desire to be- 
come a quiet and obedient subject ; but the incessant en- 
croaching by the landlords of the M'Gregors upon rights 
which his foolish followers thought no feudal charters could 
abrogate, and the lawlessness in which a century of perse- 
cution had hardened them, precipitated him into courses 
from which there was no extrication. These measures 
failing, Argyle was appointed, with the most ample powers, 
his Majesty's Lieutenant and Justice in the whole bounds 
inhabited by the clan. The strangest thing in the transac- 
tion is, that James bound his royal hands, by a clause in 
the commission, promising he would not hear the suits of, 
or grant favour or pardon to the McGregors or any one of 
them, without the concurrence of the Earl. The fount of 
royal mercy being thus shut up, the clan fell entirely under 
the management of Argyle, who, if he did not persecute 
them according to the tenor of his commission, did what 
was ultimately more fatal use them as the tools of re- 
vengeful policy, and then betray them. The Battle of 
Glenfruin, in 1603, though, as formerly noticed, partly 
brought about by an affront offered to the M'Gregors, was 
in no slight way fought at the instigation of the King's 
Lieutenant. In this conflict fell John Dubh, the brother of 
the chief. 

The undisguised abhorrence of James VI. to bloodshed 


and weapons of war is described by all contemporaries. 
On more than one occasion of extreme emergency he did 
show sparks of hereditary courage and resolution ; but 
usually his constitutional timidity very poorly compensated 
for the pacific character he affected. After the conflict of 
Glenfruin, the enemies of the Clan Gregor skilfully used the 
weakness of the monarch to obtain a series of enactments 
disgraceful to the statute-book of Scotland. Eleven score 
widows of the Colquhouns appeared before James at Stir- 
ling, arrayed in mourning, riding on white palfreys, and 
each bearing on a spear the bloody shirt of her husband. 
An Act of Privy-Council, dated 3rd April, 1603, proscribes 
the name of the clan, and denounces death to any calling 
himself Gregor or M'Gregor. Another Act of Council, 
dated 24th June, 1613, forbids, on pain of death, those 
formerly called M'Gregors to assemble together in greater 
numbers than four. An Act of Parliament, 1617, chap. 26, 
continued these laws, and extended them to the rising 
generation, because then numbers of the children of those 
who had fallen by the persecution were coming of age, and 
threatened, if permitted to assume the dreadful patronymic, 
to make the clan as formidable as ever. 

Argyle, the first to tempt the poor chief to villainy, was 
also the first to betray him. By agreement with Argyle, 
the Laird of Ardkinglas, on the 2nd October, 1603, having 
invited M'Gregor to a banquet in his house, which was 
built on an island of Loch Fyne, then and there made him 
prisoner, and put him into a boat with five men to guard 
him, besides the rowers, to be sent to the Earl. M'Gregor, 
when half-across, got his hands loosed, struck the one next 
to him overboard, leaped after him into the water, and 


escaped by swimming. Much to his honour, Allaster of 
Glenstrae was more solicitous about the peace and security 
of his clan than his personal safety. Knowing well the 
misrepresentations by which James had been led to sanc- 
tion the severe measures against them, he gave himself up 
to Argyle upon condition of his allowing him to pass into 
England to lay his case before the King, and to give hostages 
for the peaceable behaviour of the M'Gregors. No sooner, 
however, had he reached Berwick, than he was arrested by 
the Earl, brought back to Edinburgh, condemned, and put 
to death, together with the hostages, although, as Calder- 
wood observes, " reputed honest for their own pairts." The 
manner in which Argyle paltered with truth, keeping the 
word of promise to the ear and breaking it to the hope, 
shows that he had everything to fear from an interview be- 
tween M'Gregor and the sovereign, and corroborates the 
disagreeable truth of the 

(Producit the time of conviction). 

" I Allaster M'Gregour of Glenstrae, confesse heir, before God, that 
I have been persuadit, movit, and intysit, as I am now presentlie 
accusit and troublit for : olse, gif I had usit counsall or command of 
the man that has intysit me, I wad have done and committit sundrie 
heich Murthouris mair ; ffor trewlie, sen I was first his Majesteis man, 
I culd never be at ane eise, by my Lord of Argyll's falshete and inven- 
tiones ; for he causit M'Claine and Clanchamrowne commett herschip 
and slauchter in my roum of Rennoche, the quhilk causit my pure 
men therefter to bege and steill ; also therefter, he moweit my brother 
and some of my freindis to commit baith herschip and slauchter upon 
the Laird of Luss : Alsua, he persuadit myselfe, with message, to weir 
aganis the Laird of Boquhanene, quhilk I did refuise, for the quhilk 
I was contenowalie bostit that he sould be my unfreind ; and quhen I 
did refuise his desire on that point, then he intysit me with uther 


messengeris, as be the Laird of M'Knachtane and utheris of my 
freindis, to weir and truble the Laird of Luss, quhilk I behuffit to do 
for his fals boutgaittis. Then, quhen he saw I was at ane strait, he 
cawsit me trow he was my guid friend ; but I did persave he was slaw 
therin. Then I made my moyan to pleis his Majestic and Lords of 
Counsall, baith of service and obedience, to puneische faultouris and 
to saif innosent men ; and quhen Argyll was made foresein thereof, 
he intysit me to stay and start fra they conditiouns, causing me to 
understand that I was dissavit, bot with fair wordis ; to put me in ane 
snair, that he mychtgett thelandis of Kintyre in feyell fra his Majestic, 
begane to put at me and my kin, the quhilk Argyll inventit maist 
schamfullie, and persuadit the Laird of Ardkinlaiss to dissave me, 
quha was the man I did maist trest into ; but God did relief me in 
the mean tyme to libertie maist narrowlie. Nevertheless, Argyll maid 
the open brutt, that Ardkinlaiss did all that falsheid by his knowledge, 
quhilk he did intyse me with oft and sundrie messages, that he wald 
mak my peace and saif my lyfe and landis, only to puneiss certane 
faultouris of my kin, and my innosent freindis to renounce thair sir- 
name, and to leif peaseablie. Upone the quhilk conditiounis he was 
sworne be ane ayth to his freindis, and they sworne to me, and als 
I haif his vuarrand and handwrytt thereupone. The quhilk promeis, 
gif they be honestlie keepit, I let God be Judge ! And at oure meet- 
ing, in our awin chalmer, he was sworne to be in witness of his awin 
friend. Attour, I confess before God, that he did all his craftie 
diligence to intyse me to slay and destroy the Laird of Ardinkaipull, 
Mackally, for ony ganes, kyndness, or friendship that mycht he do or 
gif me ; the quhilk I did refuis, in respect of my faithfull promeis 
made to Mackallay of before. Also, he did all the diligence he culd 
to move me to slay the Laird of Ardkinglaiss in lyk manner ; but 1 
never grantit thereto, thro the quhilk he did envy me gretumly. And 
now, seing God and man seis it is greediness of wardlie gier quhilk 
causis him to putt at me and my kin, and not the weill of the realme, 
nor to pacific the saymn, nor to his Majestie's honour, bot to putt down 
innosent men, to cause pure bairnes and infanttes beg, and pure wemen 
to perisch for hunger, quhen they are heriet of their geir, the quhilk I 
pray God that thair faultis lycht not upon his Majestic heirefter, nor 
upone his successione. Quherfor I wald beseek God that his Majestic 
knew the verity, that at this hour I wald be content to tak banishment, 
with all my kin that was at the Laird of Lussis slauchter, and all 


utheris of thame that ony fault can be laid to their charge. And his 
Majestic, of his mercie, to let pure innosent men and young bairnies 
pass to libertie, and learn to leif as innosent men : The quhilk I wald 
fulfill bot ony kynd of faill, quhilk wald be mair to the will of God and 
his Majestie's honour nor the greidie crewall form that is devysit, only 
for love of geir, having nather respect to God nor honesty." 

What a fearful echo of the good old times ! The face 
of affairs had been gradually changing since the marriage 
of Malcolm Ceannmore with Margaret of England. Custom 
and usage had been displaced by positive laws ; the voice 
of the monarch and national council rose superior to the 
separate and opposing clamours of distinctive straths and 
glens ; and the Regiani and its cognate regulations at 
length received the solidity of things real, and no longer 
remained what they were centuries after being ushered into 
the world, the uncertain prophecies of things yet to be. 
Clanship retired from the public stage, surrendered to an- 
tagonistic principles the theoretical connection between the 
subject and the king, and limited its operations to the re- 
lation of baron and follower, scorning still to acknowledge 
the latter as the vassal ot the former. The progressive 
change was effected without danger where the ancient 
families retained their old possessions, where the chief of 
the tribe could still be a chief to those of his surname, and, 
without a conflict of hostile elements, be a feudal baron in 
relation to the monarch and his laws. The clans who lost 
their lands were alone those who stuck to the old traditions, 
the ancient free institutions of the forest, with a pertinacity 
which rendered it necessary for feudalism either to destroy 
or be destroyed. An Act of Parliament, passed 1587, at- 
tempted, by stringent regulations, to crush the last efforts 


of clanship, by declaring thefts committed by landed men 
(creachs) to be treason, and punishable by death ; by order- 
ing the landlords of persons acknowledging another chief 
to refuse them all help, and to remove them from their 
bounds, or give caution for them which they would 
be unwilling to grant for men obeying the behests of 
another ; and, moreover, by ordaining that the captains, 
chiefs and chieftains of clans, both Border and Highland, 
be noted in a roll, and obliged, under pain of fire and sword, 
to surrender to the King and Council certain pledges or 
hostages, liable to suffer death if redress of injuries were 
not made by the persons for whom they lay. A pendant 
to this Act of some interest, as showing the weakened state 
of the clan system in 1587, is, "The Roll of the Clannes 
that hes Captaines and Chieftaines, quhom on they depende, 
oftimes against the willes of their Landes-Lordes, alsweill 
on the Bordoures as Hielandes ; and of sum special per- 
sons of Braunches of the saidis Clannes." Seventeen sur- 
names on the Borders are marked down in the black list, 
and the following from the " Hie-landes & lies " bear them 
company viz., " Bychannanes ; Mak-farlanes of the Arro- 
quhair ; Mak-knabes ; Grahames of Menteith ; Stewarts of 
Balquhidder ; Clanne-Gregore ; Clan Lauren ; Campbells 
of Lochinel ; Campbells of Inneran ; Clan-dowall of Lome ; 
Stewartes of Lome or of Appin ; Clan-Mackeane Awright ; 
Stewartes of Athoil, and partes adjacent; Menzies in 
Athoil and Apnadull; Clane-mak-Thomas in Glensche; 
Fergussones ; Spaldinges ; Makintosches in Athoil ; Clan- 
Chamron ; Clan-Rannald in Loch-Aber ; Clan-Rannald of 
Knoydart, Moydart, and Glengarry ; Clan-Lewid of the 
Lewis ; Clan-Lewid of Harrichs ; Clan-Neill ; Clan-Kin- 


non ; Clan-Leane; Clan-Chattane; Grantes ; Frasers ; Clan- 
Keinzie ; Clan-Avercis ; Munroes ; Murrayes in Suther- 
land." The list contains nearly the whole purely Celtic 
clans. The aim of the Act was not more the putting 
down of spoliation than of bringing the whole of Scotland 
under uniform laws, abolishing the affinity-tie, and making 
the territorial arrangement supreme. 1 he Government 
was so intent upon not allowing a door of escape from 
these stringent enactments, that in the same Parliament 
(1587) a supplementary Act was passed, ordering High- 
landers and Borderers to be removed from the " In-land 
quhair they ar planted, and presently dwellis or haunts, to 
the parts quhair they were borne ; except their Land- 
lordes, quhair they presently dwell, will become soverty for 
them, to make them answerable to the Law as the Low- 
land and obedient men, under the pains conteined in the 
Acts of Parliament." With most of the tribes above speci- 
fied, the external obedience required by the Act was not so 
difficult to give. As possessors of land, and bailies on their 
own property, the chiefs easily assumed towards the King 
the feudal relation insisted upon ; while at home, and in 
presence of their surname, the Celtic customs remained 
paramount. The McGregors could not give obedience : 
they had already been deprived of their land possessions, 
and they could not be feudalised without surrendering their 
clan existence, since territory, the proper base of the feudal 
system, remained no longer with their chief. 

The King, working through the organization of feudal- 
ism, was in effect aiming at consolidating the central or 
kingly authority into an absolute despotism. But in the 
meantime a contrary element, more menacing to the 


hopes of autocrats than the affinity-tie of clanship in its 
most vigorous days, operated among men. When a child 
in the cradle, the Reformation had hailed James with the 
titles of sovereignty, and placed a crown upon his baby 
brow ; and yet in struggling with that power he spent his 
whole life in vain. Highland clanship was proscribed and 
hunted, and contemporaneously the Lowlands were leagued 
into one large clan against the monarch and his policy, by 
a principle derived from the deepest springs of human 
feeling. In the days of Charles the storm burst ; and the 
maxims of kingcraft, which James had so strenuously 
laboured to establish, were contemptuously tossed to the 
winds. Is it not strange, that the house of Stuart, reduced 
to beggary and want, and their maxims of government 
become a political myth, did not find in the circle of the 
clans so virulently attacked the most envenomed of their 
foes, and the firmest allies of the large rebellious clan of 
religion ? Look at the preceding list, and compare it with 
those following Montrose, Dundee, Mar, and "Bonnie 
Prince Charlie ; " and say, are they not the same ? Clan- 
ship was not to be put down by proscription and persecu- 
tion ; but in the day of trial it freely bled for its persecu- 
tors, and when the star of Stuart finally waned, it cheerfully 
surrendered life in their service amidst the horrors of 
Culloden ! It is a small specimen of that ever-recurring 
mystery in the political life of our race the plans of man 
crushed by the long-sweeping operation of providential laws. 
The panoramic mutability, and the perpetual culminating 
and falling of antagonistic principles, are apt to induce the 
momentary conviction that the foundation of private morals 
alone is immutable, and that in public affairs expediency, 


the tame bending to the pressure of emergencies as they 
arise, best subserve the good of the creature, and best har- 
monize with the laws of the Creator. But it is the nearness 
of objects which gives them a perplexing magnitude, and 
blinds us to their relative size and position. The farther 
we go down the historical gallery, the more do we perceive 
purpose and order in the vista of the past, the more are we 
obliged to admire the gifts of mercy and beneficence to the 
whole race, wrung by the providence of heaven from the 
efforts of men, though the intentions of the immediate 
agents were hopelessly baffled. 


Son of bold Gregor Roy, prime source of my joy, 
Thy chance from the foray, has left us full sorry 

In the hills of the deer, with thy keen-edged spear, 
And hounds in leash, who would not wish 
To see 

The chase in sight, and the axe of might, 
And bow of yew, which often slew, 

The king of the forest free ! 

Glenlyon's boast, to all foemen's cost ! 
A fletcher* skilled, thy quiver filled ; 
Behold ! 

The pointed dart is winged by art 
From the eagle's spoil ; and Ireland's soil 
Has sent 

The silken sheen, of red and green, 
Which waxed with care, from the sunbeam's flare 
Protects the polished shaft. 

Stronmelochan's chieff if claiming belief 
The rights of thy race whose descent we can trace 
From the king. 

* Arrow-maker. 

t He was by the rights of his race i ' these rights were not fabled, which was impossible 
the proper owntr of Stronmelochan, although at the time improperly deprived of it, 


In thy person or mind, no fault could we find ; 
Firm in council, and wise, to foresee and devise : 
Like the storm 

Was thy face in the field the bravest did yield, 
When flashed on the strife, our day star of life, 
The steel of Clan Alpin's pride. 

Open hand to thy friends, the smile of welcome attends 
On thy chieftains and men ; from thy threshold could wend 
No sad heart. 

Strangers come from afar, and thy brave deeds in war, 
To the tunes of old days, Erin's bards sing in lays 
Which will last. 

And the wine-cup they drain, and the pipe's merry strain 
Pours the wild notes of glee who, alas ! says to me, 
The bright scene has gone past ? 

Deep was the moaning, yestreen at the gloaming : 
The head of his clan of his race the first man 
Was the cause. 

Long the farewell, and dark was the dell, 
When he bade us adieu : Good Heaven renew 
Our lost hope ! 

Had I gone along, less sad was my song 
Whate'er could betide, I'd be happy beside 

My Chief, though the Saxons' thrall. 

THE preceding is a nearly literal version of an old song, 
called, in the metaphorical language of Gaelic poets, 
" The Arrow of Gltnlyon? the said " Arrow " being no other 
than Allaster of Glenstrae, who had been brought up, after 
the death of his father Gregor, in the family of his uncle 
the Laird of Glenlyon, and principally resided there during 
his after life. The incident handled by the poet is Allaster's 
surrender of himself into the hands of the " Saxons," for 


the satisfaction of justice, on account of the conflict of Glen- 
fruin. No bloody catastrophe seems to have been antici- 
pated either in regard to Allaster or the hostages the 
poet indeed wishes he had been one of the latter, and for 
the sake of his chief, a bondsman of the Saxons. 

The moment the clan became aware of the breach of 
faith towards their chief and hostages, they turned, accord- 
ing to custom, their thoughts upon the best means of wreak- 
ing their vengeance upon Sir Duncan Campbell, whom they 
considered perhaps in this instance unjustly to be at the 
bottom of the whole mischief. The house of Roro, which 
had given seven of the hostages including the chieftain 
Gregor threw off at last all reserve, and the prudential 
considerations upon which it had hitherto acted, and set 
itself at the head of the rebels. When the trial of the chief 
and the hostages was proceeding in Edinburgh, a storm, be- 
fore which even he quailed for a time, burst upon the head 
of Sir Duncan. In a very short time the M'Gregors burned 
and laid waste Culdares and Duneaves in Fortingall, Cran- 
nuich in Breadalbane, Glenfalloch, and the land of Bochastil 
in Menteith, all pertaining to Sir Duncan. They burned, 
moreover, his castle of Achallader the whole loss extend- 
ing to a hundred thousand merks. At last, Robert of Glen- 
falloch, Sir Duncan's second son, at the head of his father's 
forces, effectually checked the marauders, and, following up 
his advantage, pursued a great number, which he brought 
to bay at " Bad-an-t'sheoig" in the Moss of Rannoch, 
and thoroughly routed. In this fray was slain Duncan 
Abrach M'Gregor, grandson of Duncan Ladosach, and his 
son Gregor in Ardchyllie, who was Rob Roy's grandfather. 
With one or two exceptions, all the principals of the clan 


were either now slain or imprisoned. Clan Alpin's star was 
never more dim, but the work of extirpation was far from 
being accomplished ; the link of union was strengthened 
in place of being destroyed. If, instead of making Allaster 
and the hostages martyrs to their followers and the spirit 
of clanship, the King and the Barons had hit upon means 
to make them betray both, that would have weakened if 
not annihilated the allegiance which survived all persecu- 
tions. The policy of the King and the Campbells, &c., is 
embodied in formal documents and stern enactments ; the 
sentiments with which the victims met this policy and 
triumphed over it, even when defeated, remain to us in the 
more truthful and lifelike form of songs and poems. I 
regret very much being forced, for the sake of the narrative, 
to become translator of some of these without having the 
requisite qualifications ; and I cannot but express the hope 
that Gaelic-bred scholars, to the worship of the tuneful 
goddesses inclined, will seize upon the opportunity before 
it is too late, and make the poetic treasures of our native 
tongue accessible to the world. The following was com- 
posed about the year 1605, after the rout and slaughter at 
" Bad-an-t sheoig" and the execution of Allaster and the 
hostages. It would have been too much for Highland pride 
to mention that Gregor of Roro, the hero of the piece, and 
the other " dear foster-brothers,''' had been hanged. Though 
that, in fact, is the burden of the poem, there is no direct 
allusion made to it ; and the abrupt transition to the fate 
of the remaining principals of the house, who had fallen 
fighting with the Campbells, and had been hastily buried 
as they fell on the field, in the chapel or vault of the 
McGregors at Fortingall, is intended perhaps to hide the 


shameful death that had overtaken the seven first men of 
the house in Edinburgh. The poem is said to have been 
composed by M'Gregor's nurse, as a lullaby to the young 
heir : 


With sorrow, sad sorrow, 
My cup has run o'er ; 
From sorrow, sad sorrow, 
I'll recover no more. 

For Roro's M'Gregor 
I bear the sharp pains 
McGregor of streamers 
And pipe's echoing strains. 

Whose symbol, the pine tree, 
And erne's tufted plume, 
A king's son had chosen, 
In Albyn's young bloom. 

Whose spear-shafted banner, 
Ascending the brae, 
Was held by M'Vurich 
His bannerman gay. 

He struck me, the coward ; 
I'll mourn not to-day. 
They strike me unjustly 
Who alas ! will repay ? 

My rightful protectors 
In death are laid low, 
And my part-takers sleep 
In yon chapel of woe ! 

And my dear foster-brothers 
In the narrow bed lie, 
Their mean shrouds not decked 
Under gentle dame's eye ! 


One counsel I give you 
Should you hearken to me, 
When you enter the hostel, 
Oh ! moderate be. 

Take drink without sitting, 
And watch your menyie : 
Take the cup first offered, 
Be it meikle or wee. 

Make harvest of winter, 
And summer of spring ; 
Sleep light in the mountains 
Beneath the rock's wing. 

Though shy is the squirrel, 
He's captured at times, 
And the high sweeping falcon 
Low cunning beguiles. 

The temperance advice was needful for men with their 
heads generally under the wood ; but it is possible that it 
has special reference to an incident which occurred at 
Killin in the winter of 1605 or 1606. The bitterest 
enemies are obliged to have at times recourse to truce ; 
and the longer the conflict, the oftener, and more matter- 
of-course-thing must truce become. Amidst the endless 
feuds of the Highlanders, the days appropriated to the 
honour of the district saints had been long observed as 
seasons of truce a fact which, from the protection afforded 
to unrestrained intercourse, was principally the cause of the 
religious days becoming everywhere the stated markets of 
the kingdom. The Reformation, where it prevailed, no 
doubt changed the current of men's thoughts, but in the 
Highlands its immediate success was but partial and 
superficial, and most of the customs springing from a 


Roman Catholic source, which by long habit had entwined 
themselves with the social being of the inhabitants, retained 
their full vigour for another century ; and even in this year 
of grace itself, traces by no means faint are met with in 
certain localities. To St. Fillan, the Culdee Apostle of 
Breadalbane, the pth of January (o. S.) had been dedicated. 
The Fair of St. Fillans on that day still survives, as at 
the period of our narrative ; but then, though the religious 
ceremony had perished, its old sanctity as a day of universal 
truce, on which foes and friends might meet in safety and 
peace was supposed by the proscribed McGregors still to 
exist, and to afford them all requisite protection. A party of 
them, accordingly, made their appearance, headed by Ian 
Dubk Gear, a cousin of the late chieftain of Roro. Notwith- 
standing the immemorial custom, they were immediately 
beset, and most of them taken or slain. John-dubh escaped, 
after killing or wounding eight of his antagonists. He had 
been for some time under hiding, and was accustomed to re- 
ceive hospitality and concealment from a certain family in 
Glenlochay, to whom he presented himself as usual, after the 
affray. He was received with the usual kindness ; but as 
the wife went out of the house to bring him, as she said, a 
bowl of milk, her husband, an old man, a friend of 
M'Gregor, told the latter to fly at once, for that among 
those slain by him at Killin, in the late affair, was a friend 
of his wife, and she had therefore determined to betray 
him, and, instead of going for the milk, had gone in search 
of her two sons, who would be willing agents in the plot, and 
would kill him where he was, if he did not immediately 
make his escape. Before the old man had well done telling 
this to his guest, the young men entered the house with 


arms to kill him, but he had been forewarned, and stabbed 
them as they successively entered, and giving a mortal blow 
to the mother, who was attemping to bar the door upon 
him, rushed out of the house, exclaiming, " That is the way 
a M'Gregor avenges breach of trust." He then fled to 
Strathspey, where he was lucky enough to captivate the 
affections of a young girl of good family, who abandoned 
for a time friends and home for the sake of her daring out- 
law. When sleeping in a barn, the couple on one occasion 
received warning that an officer of the law and twelve 
armed attendants were upon their track. But they ap- 
peared so soon after the notice was received that they 
could not fly. In this emergency, the young wife, who I 
think is called Isabella in an old song commemorating the- 
incident, showed herself worthy of her mate. He was well 
provided with fire-arms, having a Spanish gun and a large 
pistol or dag. The fair Isabella loaded as fast as John 
could discharge ; so that between them the enemies quickly 
measured their lengths on the ground or took to their heels. 
In the joy of victory, John-dubh is said to have composed 
and danced the famous " Tulaichean? or, as it is more 
generally pronounced by strangers, the " Reel of Hullichin" 
The old words are characteristic of a hardy outlaw, and 
have much of that exuberance of feeling resulting from an 
unexpected deliverance : 

" O Thulaichean gu Bealaichean, 

'So Bhealaichean gu Tulaichean ; 

'S mur faigh sinn leann 's na Tulaichean 

Gun oil sinn uisge Bhealaichean." 
" From the knowes to the passes, 

From the passes to the knowes ; 

If we have no beer on the knowes 

We have springs in the passes.' 1 


John-dubh having obtained remission for his misdeeds 
became, it is said, an exemplary member of society ; and 
most wonderful of all, if true, he and the fair Isabella were 
progenitors of the Gregorian dynasty, which has given 
Scotland upwards of twenty professors renowned in litera- 
ture and science ! 

The Clan Gregor, stunned by the several calamities we 
have endeavoured to enumerate, for four or five years dis- 
appeared, as it were, altogether. But in 1610, they raised 
their heads again under another band of leaders, who had 
meantime come to maturity, and were resolved to avenge 
their fathers. We summarise the following account from 
the Black Book : 

" The King hearing of the great rebellion and oppression made again 
by the Clan-Gregor in the year 1610, sent from England the Earl of 
Dunbar, for taking order with them, and for settling peace in the 
Highlands, as he had formerly done on the Borders. Among others 
of the nobility and gentry, Sir Duncan Campbell was burdened to 
pursue the Clan-Gregor, for rooting out of their posteritie and name. 
The Earl of Dunbar, soon after this arrangement, retired to England. 
And in the month of February, 1611, the Clan-Gregor, being straitly 
pursued, betook themselves to the isle of Ilanbernak in Monteith ; 
whereupon, the Secret Council employed Sir Duncan and other gentle- 
men in the countries round about, to besiege them. Which being be- 
gun, the siege was hastily raised through a severe snow-storm. When 
Sir Duncan's people were returning from the siege, Robert, his second 
son, hearing of oppression made by a number of the Clan upon his 
father's lands, took three of their principal men ; and in the taking, 
one was slain, the other two were sent to Edinburgh." 

About this time the Earl of Dunbar died, and the King 
charged by several commissions the Earl of Argyle and Sir 
Duncan and their friends to pursue the Clan Gregor. 
Whereupon the Council appointed a meeting to be held in 


Edinburgh of all the landlords. Sir Duncan being 
among the rest, directed out of Edinburgh his son Robert, 
and John Campbell son of the Laird of Lawers, who slew 
the most special man and proud lymmar of them, called 
John Dow M'Allaster in Stronfernan, and with him Allaster 
M'Gorrie. Immediately afterwards, while Sir Duncan was 
still abiding in Edinburgh with the rest of his sons and 
friends, attending on the Secret Council, the Clan Gregor 
burned the lands of Aberuquhill belonging to Colin 
Campbell, Lawers' brother, the lands of Glenurchay, Glen- 
falloch, Mochaster, in Menteith, and Culdares and Duneaves 
in Fortingall, all belonging to Sir Duncan. And " in the 
Cosche of Genurchay they slew fourty great mares and 
their followers, with ane fair cursour sent to Sir Duncan 
from the Prince out of London." From this time forth, the 
Clan Gregor held themselves together to the number of six 
or seven score men. But Sir Duncan returning, sent out 
his son Robert and Colin Campbell of Aberuquhill to 
pursue them, who followed them straitly through Bal- 
quhidder, Menteith, and Lennox, and drove them to the 
forest of Benbuie in Argyle. Here they slew Patrick 
M'Gregor, son to Duncan in Glen, and took Neil, bastard 
to Gregor M'Eane, with other five, whom they hanged at 
the Cosche where they slew the mares. From Benbuie 
they chased them to the mountains lying between Rannoch 
and Badenoch, and so scattered them that they never met 
again in greater numbers than ten or twelve. And from 
the month of May in the same year, the service was followed 
up by the Earl of Argyle and Sir Duncan and their friends, 
during which time Sir Duncan and his sons took and slew 
sixteen of the Clan Gregor. 


At the time the Commissioners appointed by King James 
were resolutely following out the commands of their master 
to extirpate the Clan-Gregor and root out their posterity 
and name, the wide Atlantic bore to the shores of England 
the wailing cry of young Virginia, more than once repeated, 
for succour in the shape of men, and men accustomed to 
endure hardships and bear arms. The race that Scotland 
insisted upon disowning would have been an acquisition 
there. But we are wise in the retrospect, or after-hand ; 
and he who shall set himself to describe and weigh our 
country's total misapplication of resources may judge the 
total ignorance of the barons of the seventeenth century 
regarding the convenient outlet of emigration, less blame- 
worthy, perhaps, and less hurtful to the honour and power 
of Britain, than the too keen appreciation of it by their 
successors in the nineteenth. 

" In the month of October, 1615," says the Black Book, " the Laird 
of Lawers passed up to London, and desired of his Majesty that he 
would write to the Council, desiring the Council to send for the land- 
lords of the Clan-Gregor, that they would grant a contribution of fifty 
pound out of the merkland, and his Majesty would find a way that 
none of the Clan-Gregor should trouble any of their lands nor possess 
them, but that the landlords should bruik them peaceably. For 
Lawers let his Majesty understand, that if his Highness would grant 
him that contribution, that he would get all these turns settled, wherein 
truely Lawers had neither power nor moyen to do it. The Council 
wrote for the landlords, such as the Earl of Linlithgow, the Laird of 
Glenurchay, the Laird of Weem, Alexander Shaw of Cambusmore and 
Knockhill ; the rest of the landlords came not. The Chancellor in- 
quired of them that were present if they would grant the contribution ? 
which they all yielded to except Glenurchay, who said, he would not 
grant thereto, seeing his Majesty had burdened him to concur with 
the Earl of Argyle in the pursuing of the Clan-Gregor, because he 
knew he would receive more skaith from the Clan than all the other 


landlords. Thereafter the Council wrote to the landlords, and desired 
them to pay the contribution, and his Majesty's wish was that it should 
be given to the Laird of Lawers. Glenurchay refused, by reason that 
he had never yielded to the contribution, and the rest of the landlords, 
who were absent the first Council day that the contribution was 
granted, refused in like manner. So the Laird of Lawers was disap- 
pointed of the contribution. Glenurchay quarrelled the Laird of 
Lawers and his brothers, that he should take such enterprises in hand 
without his advice, seeing that he was the Laird of Glenurchay's 
vassal and kinsman come of his house, and also his sister's son ; and 
that when the house of Lawers would have wrecked in Lawers' father's 
time, the Laird of Glenurchay took in his mother, his brothers, and 
sisters into his house, and saved the house of Lawers from ruin and 

u In the month of December, 1615, the Laird of Lawers sought ane 
suit of the Council for of entertaining three or four score of the bairns of 
the Clan-Gregor, and desired the Council to burden the landlords with 
the sum of two thousand merks in the month therefor. The Laird of 
Glenurchay desired the Laird of Lawers and his brothers not to trouble 
him with that suit, seeing they knew he had gotten more skaith of the 
Clan-Gregor than all the subjects of the kingdom, and that he had 
done more service to his Majesty than all the rest in oppressing of the 
Clan-Gregor. Lawers refused that Glenurchay should have any cour- 
tesy, but pay as the rest did for entertainment of the bairns of the 
Clan-Gregor. For the which refusal, Glenurchay met with the land- 
lords, such as the Earl of Tulliebardin, the Earl of Perth, my Lord 
Madderty, and the rest of the landlords, and they took the burden 
upon themselves for ane space to entertain the bairns, whereby Lawers 
was disappointed of his two thousand merks." 

" Thereafter the Earl of Argyle got of his Majesty the fines of the 
receptors of the Clan-Gregor, and.the Laird of Lawers and his brothers, 
for the time being daily waiters-on upon the Earl of Argyle, got the 
fourth part of the fines to themselves. Glenurchay desired he and his 
tenants, on account of the losses they had suffered, and the services 
they had performed against the McGregors, should not be troubled 
with these fines. Lawers and his brothers answered, they would grant 
no courtesy to Glenurchay. Whereupon Glenurchay posted up to 
London to his Majesty where the Earl of Argyle was for the presen 
and declared to his Majesty how that his tenants, notwithstanding 
their good service and great skaith, were pressed to be fined, which 


his Majesty declared was no reason, and so wrote down to the Council, 
desiring that none of Glenurchay's tenants or servants be troubled 
with any of the foresaid fines. To conclude, the house of Lawers has 
been very ungrateful to the house of Glenurchay at all other times." 

Sir Duncan had rather a difficult part to act. His 
severity to the Clan-Gregor placed the family of Glenlyon, 
in direct opposition, and a pitiable scramble for the spoil 
entangled him again in a vexatious quarrel with the proud 
house of Lawers, whose heir was soon destined to blossom 
into Earl of Louden. At loggerheads with the oldest 
and most influential cadets of his house, Sir Duncan for a 
while slackened in the pursuit, but he had talents to over- 
come all opposition, and make enemies themselves the 
tools of his severe, but, it must be admitted, enlightened 
policy ; for latterly, at least, he represented the principle 
of order struggling with class for the ascendency. 


IT would have been no difficult matter, from the abun- 
dance of materials, to sketch the history of the 
McGregors downwards from the point at which we have 
broken off in last number to show how, in the civil war, 
they once more raised their head, and under Patrick Roy, 
heir of Glenstrae, fought with loyalty so unflinching, and 
gallantry so conspicuous, as to merit the warmest thanks of 
the Marquis of Montrose, and obtain the written promise of 
the restitution of their old possessions, as soon as his Majesty 
was restored to point out the sinister influence under which 
the solemn pledge was left unredeemed by the ungrateful 
Charles, and even the penal enactments revived, to reassure 
the hearts of the white-washed rebels, who battened on the 
spoil of the ruined clan and to describe the firmness with 
which, for a century or more after the Restoration, they clung 
to clan-associations and hereditary traditions, in the face of 
many inducements to the contrary, until at last the British 
Parliament tardily abolished the Draconic Acts of King 
James, and gave back to the M'Gregors the only thing it 
then could their ancient surname. But I am conscious of 
having already digressed too far from the subject matter ; 
and besides, no commingling of history, no close bonds of 
connection with the family of Glenlyon, can be alleged as 
an excuse for dragging in posterior like former events. We 


shall therefore return to our old acquaintance, John Camp- 
bell, seventh Laird of Glenlyon, and to the period in his 
life at which we formerly left off namely, the year 1714. 

His eldest child, a daughter, was born that year; and 
after the difficulties thrown around his early career by a 
spendthrift father were so far surmounted, that he could 
look his numerous creditors in the face, with the certainty 
of being one day able to pay them all, he had the brightest 
prospects of happy competence before him, sweet domestic 
bliss, and the affection of a wide circle of friends, attached 
to him far less by family alliance than the manly courage 
and honest determination with which he met diminution 
of fortune, and the severe pecuniary obligations incurred by 
Robert the unfortunate. There is evidence that he actually 
looked upon his position in this cheerful, hopeful frame of 
spirit, and planned improvements on his property, and 
sensible expedients for paying his debts ; when lo 1 a my- 
sterious whisper breathed over the land, making men mad 
with the insanity of longing undefined expectation, and the 
sober John Campbell became the hot enthusiast, and, be- 
fore all was over, experienced no less than Seged, Emperor 
of Ethiopia, the futility of plans of pleasure, and man's in- 
capacity to enjoy bliss unalloyed. 

Queen Anne died on the ist of August, 1714. The 
schemes projected for several years by Bolingbroke and his 
party, abetted latterly by Anne, both from natural affection 
for her brother and old hatred to the family of Hanover 
for opening the succession to the Pretender, were dis- 
arranged and precipitated by her sudden death. Presum- 
ing upon the strength of the Jacobite party and the per- 
sonal favour of the Queen, three or four leading statesmen 


had proceeded too far to expect favour or mercy from the 
Protestant successor, King George. Rather, therefore, than 
face a trial for high treason, or at best sink into forced ob- 
scurity and insignificance, these parties selfishly resolved 
upon wrapping their country in the flames of civil war. 
Their best excuse before the bar of history is that the King 
acted in the emergency more like the intolerant head of the 
Whig party than the constitutional monarch of Great Britain, 
the common father of his people. They may have really 
believed that the cold shade into which they themselves 
had fallen too truely typified the real gift received by the 
country in the Protestant and foreign dynasty. The chiv- 
alrous principle that enlisted the Highlanders on the side 
of the natural prince, can by no means be ascribed to the 
party politicians Oxford, Bolingbroke, and Mar. Power, 
wealth, and station, for themselves and families, formed the 
magnum bonum of these men ; and though none of them 
considered himself an Esau, silly enough to sell his birth- 
right for a mess of pottage, yet each and all would probably 
pledge honour and salvation for what George foolishly re- 
fused, the sunshine of the Court, and ultimate hope of secur- 
ing posts and pensions with a little liberty, as heretofore, to 
sell the people and corrupt the Church. This rebellion is in- 
deed incomparable for the meanness of underlying motives. 
The superlative hollowness of the principals, painfully con- 
trasted with, and everything than relieved by, the unthink- 
ing bravery and instinctive loyalty of the poor deluded tools. 
Mar dismissed from office, and finding the monarch de 
facto looking coldly and suspiciously upon his tender of 
allegiance and devotion, opened a secret correspondence 
with the king dejure, retired to the Highlands, consulted 


with the hottest Highland Jacobites at the famous " Deer 
Hunt," and proclaimed the Chevalier de St. George at Castle- 
ton of Braemar, Qth September, 1715. 

The measure was not unexpected on the part of the 
Highlanders. The subjoined note was written by Stewart 
of Ballechin to the Laird of Glenlyon the 25th August of 
the preceding year, and twenty-four days after the Queen's 
death : 

"Ball: 25 Aug. 1714. 

"SIR I received ^18 Scots from yor servant, which I shall transmit 
to my brother Robert by my son Charles, who I doubt not will send 
hither Rob's obligation with thanks. As for news, I hear none save 
what the prints give us. All is very quiet and peaceable, and every 
man working at harvest and oyr lawfull employments, and no appear- 
ance of the least Disturbance. I give my service to all yours, and am, 
sir, your most humble servant, CHAS : STEWART." 

John Campbell of Glenlyon, who had apparently been 
anxious to plunge into rebellion in 1714, had in 1715 the 
rather unenviable honour of being the man who attempted 
to strike the first blow. As we shall have occasion to show 
immediately, his success was not commensurate with his 
enthusiasm, and the failure of the attempt was an omen of 
ill augury to the side he espoused. 

When the signs of the coming storm became too evident 
to be longer misunderstood, the Government of King 
George, induced by the pressing energy of Argyle, took 
every prudent precaution to mitigate if not arrest its fury^ 
One of these was, to deprive the disaffected, by one home 
thrust, of all their chief men, or if that failed, to drive them, 
before being fully prepared, into a precipitate and ill- 
concerted rebellion. Summonses were accordingly issued 
to all the heads of the Jacobite Clans, and other suspected 


persons in Scotland, to appear at Edinburgh by a certain 
day, in terms of a very stringent Act passed that year, to 
find bail for their good conduct. "Iain G!as" the aged 
Earl of Breadalbane, was among those summoned. He 
found no difficulty in obtaining from the minister of Ken- 
more (Alexander Comrie), of which parish he himself was 
patron, a certificate, upon soul and conscience, that, from 
age and infirmity, he could not be removed from his room, 
far less undertake a fatiguing journey to Edinburgh. Not- 
withstanding, the Earl was busy at the time mustering his 
men, and, within a fortnight, joined the Earl of Mar at 
Logierait ! The Breadalbane men, to the number of 500, 
assembled about the middle of September, under John 
Campbell of Glenlyon, and marched into Argyleshire. We 
have formerly shown that the interests of the two great 
branches of the Campbells often clashed since "Iain Glas" 
succeeded to the headship of the younger or Breadalbane 
branch. The hopes of obtaining the undivided leadership 
of the Siol Diarmid, almost within his reach in 1685, had 
never been given up by the wily "pale John." Many 
gentlemen of the Campbells of Argyle had strong leanings 
in favour of James and hereditary right; and though, since 
the restitution of the Mac-Cailein-Mores to their honour and 
dignities, not daring to offer active opposition, still by a 
persevering exercise of the vis inertice> they more than once 
weakened the hands of the chief. The state of affairs was 
very well known to Breadalbane, who hastened to avail 
himself of it by sending his men to Argyle, that his stan- 
dard might be a rallying-point to the friends of James, and 
consequent enemies of John, Duke of Argyle. It was an 
attempt to rob Argyle of his following, and to deny at home 


the principle of legitimacy, for which Jacobites publicly 

Before marching, water off the " Clach-Buadh " was 
sprinkled upon the men. When Glenlyon came to a cer- 
tain man called M 'Calum, who appeared to shrink from 
the shower of water with which the chieftain sportively 
deluged him, the latter observed in jest, " Calum, you 
tremble, you coward ! " "I do not tremble," replied 
Calum angrily ; " but see you do not tremble. To 
your father's son it would be a greater shame." Calum 
M'Calum was a Glenlyon man, who for personal love to 
the old family had joined the host, like several others, of 
his own accord ; and before the campaign was over, he 
proved satisfactorily that such service as he offered was 
not to be bought with gold, and that he had come of a race 
who never learned to " tremble." 

Glenlyon marched into Argyle before Mar made a single 
move. At the head of his 500 men, he penetrated through 
the passes of that country without opposition. A few of 
the Campbells joined him, but by no means the number 
expected by Breadalbane. It was intended to occupy the 
places of strength, overawe the districts purely Presbyterian, 
and proclaim the Pretender at Inverary. Meantime, much 
to the discomfiture of these plans, Colonel Alexander 
Campbell of Fonab, sent by the Duke of Argyle, hastily 
raised the militia of the county for the service of King 
George, and brought up arms and ammunition from Glas- 
gow. This experienced soldier, who learned his tactics 
under William and Marlborough, allowed the rash Glen- 
lyon to proceed without molestation into the heart of the 
country, and then, by a skilful flank march, cut off his re- 


treat, and left him but the alternative of surrendering at 
discretion, or of fighting under disadvantages tantamount 
to the certainty of annihilation, giving no chance of inflict- 
ing material injury upon the assailants. In these desperate 
circumstances, Glenlyon insisted upon running the risk of 
one attack, but was with difficulty over-ruled by John 
Campbell of Achallader, Breadalbane's chamberlain, and 
Campbell of Glendarule, who had been given to him by the 
Earl for advisers or " Comhairl Taighe." Fonab was not 
disposed to proceed to extremities. He had been the late 
Glenlyon's companion-in-arms ; and whatever the world 
thought of the commander in the massacre of Glencoe, he 
had loved him as a brother, and as a brother had acted in 
seeing him honourably buried at Bruges, and in settling his 
perplexed affairs after his death. This generosity extended 
to the impoverished family ; and we find that in 1703 he 
had lent to the present Glenlyon, then in great straits, the 
sum of 600 merks, which were repaid to Robert his son, 
and his widow Mary Bailie, in 1736, several years after his 
death. Besides the personal relation of the leaders, Fonab 
was aware that many on his own side, who would not scruple 
to fight well for King George in other circumstances, as the 
chief willed it, were averse to draw their swords against 
their brothers of the Siol Diarmid, and for the first time 
sow the seeds of mortal dissension amidst the chief 
branches of the surname. He therefore proposed that 
Glenlyon would withdraw his men, promise on his honour 
to abstain from injuring the inhabitants in his retreat, leave 
the country and engage not to invade it again. These 
terms were accepted, and both sides acted upon them 
without delay. The issue was fortunate for Glenlyon, 


Before he crossed the borders of Argyle on his backward 
march, the Duke's brother, the Earl of Hay, arrived at 
Inverary from Edinburgh. This nobleman had exerted 
himself strenuously for suppressing the progress of the re- 
volt in the capital, was enthusiastically attached to Presby- 
terianism and the Protestant succession, had talents of no 
mean order, but exhibited little or nothing of the national 
and clannish warmth of emotion, the patriotic and en- 
lightened comprehensiveness of mind, the exalted senti- 
ments and native unselfishness of his famous brother, John, 
Duke of Argyle and Greenwich qualities which rarely 
meet in one person, and which, take him all in all, have 
stamped the character of Argyle in Scotch affection as the 
brightest historical legacy of that age of venal, treacherous 
politicians, and selfish generals. Hay's prudence, on the 
other hand, degenerated at times into low cunning, and his 
policy as a public man was but cruelty and intolerance in 
disguise. The conduct of Colonel Campbell incurred his 
severe censure, and an attempt was made to intercept the 
retreating band. Misfortune taught Glenlyon to retire 
with more caution than he advanced, and Hay was baulked 
of his object by finding that the tables were now turned, 
and the disadvantage of position and communication, under 
which the Breadalbane men first laboured, would be now on 
the side of their assailants. The proposal was therefore given 
up, and Glenlyon quietly reached the borders of the county, 
where he remained for a few days to facilitate the assem- 
bling of the western clans. The expedition was of eminent 
service in this respect. Previous to Glenlyon's appearance 
in the shire, Lochiel, Glengarry, and Appin, with several 
subordinate chieftains, had been in correspondence with 


the Duke's representative, Colonel Campbell, and showed a 
strong inclination to remain true to their allegiance to the 
house of Hanover. It is a strange incident, read in the 
light of their past history and subsequent conduct, that the 
royalist offspring of Black Sir Evan of Lochiel, and the 
veteran Glengarry, who bore the banner of James at Killie- 
crankie, should at this time waver in their fidelity to the 
Stuarts. Such, however, was the case. They sent a mes- 
sage to Colonel Campbell, assuring him " that if he could 
promise them the Duke's friendship, they would, as soon 
as they could, get their men together, march them to In- 
verary, and join his (the Colonel's) men, who were in arms 
for the King (George), and they themselves would go to 
Stirling to wait on his Grace." The moment they heard of 
the " Yellow Banner " being displayed, the good promises 
to Colonel Campbell resolved into thin air, and they pre- 
pared in all haste to espouse the other, and to them natural, 
side. The former hesitation was chiefly owing to the fact, 
that as the western and northern nobility had not joined 
Mar, and as he and his principal adherents were not con- 
nected by previous ties with the Camerons and M'Donalds, 
these clans, narrowing the world to the circle of their tra- 
ditions, shrank from trusting leaders of whom they knew 
nothing, and whose banners were not mentioned in the 
war songs of their bards. More prudential motives actu- 
ated the chiefs both were men who had seen the world, 
and distinguished themselves as officers of the Duke of 
Berwick. The ability of Breadalbane was long their dread 
individually and collectively; his wisdom, or rather cunning 
and foresight, had passed into a proverb ; through the 
convulsions of more than threescore years he had both 


maintained his hereditary influence, and greatly added to 
it ; would he now risk all without the certainty of success ? 
Where he forded, could they not swim ? The promptitude 
of the old Earl was the spark needed to excite the con- 
flagration. The Camerons and M 'Donalds thought of the 
days of Montrose, Evan Dubh, and Dundee ; and at this 
crisis it is said the personal influence of the chiefs could 
not restrain their men from mustering under the banner of 
the ancient foes of their fathers, if they themselves would 
not lead them into rebellion as they desired. 

Glenlyon, before leaving Argyle, saw Glengarry and 
Glenmoriston encamped at Achallader, on the Braes of 
Glenurchay, with 500 warlike followers. Shortly after- 
wards they moved their camp to Strathfillan. From the 
positions which they held, they completely covered the 
passes to Breadalbane, Glenlyon, and Rannoch. Argyle 
was completely sealed in. By the i8th October the Cap- 
tain of Clanronald, Rob Roy, Stewart of Appin, Sir John 
M'Lean, M'Dougal of Lorn, with their followers, and a 
fresh levy of Breadalbane men, rendezvoused with the 
clans at Strathfillan. From this they marched into Argyle, 
and afterwards returning, joined the Earl of Mar on the 
eve of the Battle of Sheriffmuir, 2,400 strong. 

Leaving Glengarry at Achallader, the Laird of Glenlyon 
marched down his native glen, and joined the Earl of Mar 
at Logierait with all his men. 


Sad or glad, the news I bear you 
Claims a hearing, patient, long : 
Though in France the Stuart tarries, 
Our good blades should make him strong. 
As for George, he is king of asses ; 
By his gold he gained the crown. 
And ere Whitsuntide shall pass us, 
He must ware on German lasses 
The regard Britannia scorned. 

On Ardoch height, by break of dawn, 
The clans were met in thick array ; 
And by evening word had reached us 
That the foe quite near us lay. 
To Kinbuck we marched so fearless, 
Where we passed the night in arms, 
And the breeze was cold and cheerless ; 
But the stacks of corn so peerless 
Fed the flames to keep us warm I 

On Sunday morn expecting fight, 

The banners fluttered free, 

And we threw off our tartain plaids, 

Nor thought of kirk and bended knee. 

The word, Advance, had passed the ranks, 

And on we rushed with stern-knit brows 

And ardent hope. The upper banks 

With red-coats glitter. Heaven have thanks, 

And deil takes him who is hindmost now. 

M'Leans and M 'Donalds of old renown 

Toss their proud symbols on high ! 


Beside them the band of the yellow-striped banner, 

Sent by Breadalbane to conquer or die. 
The claymore is smeared with the heart-blood of foemen ; 
And bayonet sharp, 
By sinews stark, 

Is driven home in the red-coat mark. 
The centre reels and Whetham flies, 
For those who fly not 
Will never arise ! 

Alas ! they alone stemmed the tide of war, 
Alas ! they alone gained the thanks of Mar, 
And earned a bright name in climes afar. 

Glengarry, you have well sustained 
The fame your fathers aye obtained : 

Warrior of the fearless eye, 

And prince of hospitality ! 
Stern your voice rolled o'er the field 

To check the useless sorrow : 
Moydart bleeds upon his shield 
The glaive Glengarry fiercer wields 

" Revenge to-day, and mourn to-morrow. ' 
Now your head is bending low, 
And the mournful teardrops flow 
Over him, your cherished mate, 
Who in the onset dree'd his fate 
The hawk that made the welkin ring 
The chiefest feather in your wing 
Best of friends and captain rare 
Great M'Allan's haughtiest heir ! 

Chiefs of Appin and Lochiel ; 

Struan, from the fir woods wild, 

Which Albyn's mountains bear ; 
A passing smart's no lasting ill, 
No sad disgrace your names defiled, 
Though vanquished, still with courage rare, 
'Gainst fate you almost backward bore 
The signs of victory ! 

Another day the wheel may turn ; 


Another day let vengeance burn ; 
Another day the thirsty blade 
Yon red-coat ranks will yet invade 
And smoke in clotted gore 
A laoich mo chri. 

Huntly's Earl has proud tramping steeds 
And Huntly's Earl has men. hills, and meads ; 

But Huntly's Earl 

Is worse than a carl 

If the name he enjoys, be not matched by his deeds ! 
Mercy and peace for the phantom wan, 
Who lost a name as for life he ran ! 

But, Seaforth's Lord, 

We can't afford 

To hide thy shame, as the fate of the man 
Will never atone for dishonouring the clan ! 

I must not omit what ought to be told : 
Our loss would be gain had a captain bold 

Led the van. 

Oh ! for thy wisdom, Breadalbane old ! 
Had age given up her withering claim, 
And restored thee one day, thy manhood's frame, 

Thou wouldst be the man 

To propose the right plan. 

When coldly they stopped in the midst of the fray, 
Thou would'st point to the red-coats and teach them the way 

To pursue 

Nor stop the halloo 

Till they brushed them like dew 

From the land. 

Alhallows, protect the just heir of the crown : 
Base might is triumphant, and right is borne down. 
But Thomas the Rhymer and sure is the tale 
Foretold that his cause over all must prevail. 
By Clutha's fair stream so our sires have us taught 
Shall the conflict be ended, the last battle fought j 


When the sons of the Gael 

The standard of Stuart will wave o'er the slain, 

And England at last shall submit to his reign. 

THE above is an attempt to put in a foreign dress a 
song composed by a poetess of the M'Donalds, im- 
mediately after the battle of Sheriffmuir. The translation 
is necessarily very free, but the leading sentiments are re- 
tained, and that serves our purpose of showing the feelings 
of the Highlanders regarding the battle sufficiently well. 
Huntly, who discouraged righting with Argyle at all, and 
afterwards fled with the beaten wing of the rebels, is lashed 
with bitterness. The Earl of Seaforth, who was with 
Huntly in the broken wing, and afterwards escaped to 
France, is treated much in the same way; but the chieftains 
who attempted to rally the confused host, and, though re- 
treating, disputed with Argyle every foot of ground be- 
tween Dunblane and the river Allan, are consoled with the 
hope of retrieving their credit " another day." The low- 
land auxiliaries are passed over with contemptuous silence. 
It is not only in this particular song, but in almost every 
effusion of the Gaelic Jacobite muse, for nearly a century, 
that a traditional prophecy of Thomas the Rhymer regard- 
ing a great victory to be obtained by Highlanders or Scots 
on the banks of the Clyde or Cluaith or, as it is called in 
Ossian, the Clutha is appealed to as a certain ground of 
hope for the ultimate triumph of the cause in which they 
were engaged. This prophetic battle has not entirely got 
out of the heads of some old Highlanders to this day, 
though of course it is no longer connected with the Stuart 
cause, I was amused, during the Crimean war, to hear 


a veteran Celt growl out threateningly that the time for 
Thomas' great battle was then at hand. 

Glenlyon followed Mar throughout the whole campaign. 
After spending much unnecessary time at Perth, the com- 
mander-in-chief of the rebels at length resolved to march 
against the royal forces mustering under Argyle at Stirling. 
Mar's force, when he arrived at Perth, was abo.ut 5,000 
men, composed chiefly of his own followers, the Atholemen 
under the attainted Marquis of Tullibardine, elder brother 
of the then Duke of Athole, and the Breadalbane men 
under Glenlyon, with the Stuarts of Athole and Foss, the 
Robertsons of Struan, the Menzieses of Weem, and Glen- 
lyon men under Menzies of Culdares, the heir of the 
Crowner, &c. The rebellion was in fact confined mostly 
to the Highlands of Perthshire. If it could have been kept 
for a time shut up in its own district, the rebellion would 
have been crushed in the bud. The taking of Perth was 
therefore of incalculable benefit to the Jacobite leader. He 
secured the country behind him, quieting the natural fears 
of his followers regarding their friends, wives, and children, 
by holding the entrance to the district on the east and west, 
for Glengarry and the western clans were known before then 
to be encamped at Strathfillan. The seizure of Perth made 
Mar, by the help of the rebels in the northern shires, who 
were quickly on the march to join him, master of the 
eastern coast from the Forth to Duncansbay Head. By this 
time communication with France, from which they expected 
succours, was safely open, and it wonderfully increased the 
alacrity of the friends of James to join Mar, though the 
hope thus entertained was completely frustrated by the 
inopportune death of Louis XIV., and the accession of the 


slippery Philip of Orleans to the regency. On the 5th 
October, the brave veteran, Brigadier M'Intosh of Borlum, 
with 500 men joined Mar at Perth. Next day, the 
Marquis of Huntly arrived with 500 horse and 2,000 foot ; 
and a few days thereafter, arrived successively the Earls 
Marisehal and Seaforth, with strong reinforcements of horse 
and foot. 

Following the line of policy recommended by the prece- 
dent of the war of Montrose, and imitated at a future period 
by Prince Charles, from the Grampians as the base of oper- 
ations, Mar conceived the project of extending his columns 
across the Forth, and thence of sending a strong body over 
the borders, to form a centre of agglomeration for the 
Tories of England. He was, however, one of those men 
whose minds could form bold plans in the closet, and with 
adequate comprehensiveness forecast the destiny of nations, 
but whose dilatory and timid conduct in the field betrayed 
themselves and sacrificed their followers. 

The Duke of Argyle informed himself of the deliberations 
in the rebel Councils at Perth ; and, with the decisive ac- 
tivity of his character, took the best plans to baffle them. 
The captain of the expeditionary force was, however, a 
match even for " Red John of the Battles," as the High- 
landers called the Duke. Brigadier M'Intosh of Borlum, 
with about 2,500 men, moved down to the coasts of Fife, 
determined to break through the barrier of the Forth, in 
spite of the Duke and his precautions. That, in the face 
of such difficulties, he was able to carry this determination 
into effect, shows of what achievements the army of Mar 
was capable, if led by an energetic general. To Brigadier 
M'Intosh and his bold band we shall have hereafter to 


recur, as our old acquaintances, the Stewarts of Foss and 
Athole, and the men of Glenlyon under their new master, 
Menzies of Culdares, formed a considerable part of the 
brave expeditionary force. In the meantime let us follow 
Mar and the great body of the rebels. 

No sooner had M'Intosh's detachment landed in Lothian, 
than the Earl of Mar found it necessary at last to remove 
from Perth, to divert Argyle from crushing the 1,500 or 
i, 600 rebels who had broken through his ships of war, 
perplexed and confounded himself by sham movements, 
wearied out his soldiers by marches and counter-marches 
leading to nothing, and in the end crossed an arm of the 
sea sixteen miles broad in open boats, seized upon the old 
citadel of Leith, more than threatened Edinburgh, and, as 
a crowning climax to audacity, flung a bold defiance in the 
teeth of the Commander-in-Chief of the royal army ! 

Mar broke up the camp at Perth on the 9th November, 
and bivouacked that night with his forces at Auchterarder. 
Early next morning he was joined by the western clans, 
who had rendezvoused at Strathfillan, now under General 
Gordon. Orders were issued on Saturday, the I2th, to 
General Gordon and^ Brigadier Ogilvie, with eight squad- 
rons of horse and all the clans, to march and take pos- 
session of the town of Dunblane, while the main body was 
to follow after them at a more leisurely pace. Mar was 
not with the army that day, for he had gone to Castle 
Drummond to confer with the old Earl of Breadalbane, 
who, notwithstanding his infirmities, attempted to influence 
the proceedings of the rebels, and to keep in the wake of 
the army. 

Finding that the royal army had crossed the Forth, and 


advanced their columns to Dunblane, General Gordon 
halted on the moor of Ardoch, and informed Hamilton, 
who was coming up with the main body. The army being 
drawn up in order of battle, near the Roman camp at Ar- 
doch, guards were posted, and the men prepared to spend 
the night there. General Gordon in the meantime marched 
forward to Kinbuck with the clans, when the news of the 
royal army being at Dunblane was confirmed, and he 
accordingly fired the three signal guns, whereupon the 
main body came up, and the whole men lay under arms 
all night at Kinbuck, and formed early next morning, 
fronting towards Dunblane. 

Though within two miles of each other, the view was so 
intercepted that neither army knew the disposition of the 
other until they met almost face to face in battle array. 
Mar had no intention to hazard all on the fate of a battle. 
He called a council of war, and, notwithstanding the warn- 
ing anticipation of Huntly and others, who thought the 
sham movement of attempting to pass by Stirling Bridge 
had already sufficiently answered the immediate object of 
withdrawing the Duke's army from the Lothians, and leav- 
ing the road open to Brigadier M'Intosh's detachment, the 
ardour of the chiefs determined the resolution to fight. 
No sooner was it announced to the ranks, than the men 
enthusiastically threw their bonnets into the air and de- 
manded to be led on. 

The victory was doubtful, though the consequences were 
quite decisive. Argyle with his right wing slowly forced 
back the left wing of the rebels, commanded by Gordon, 
Huntly, Seaforth, and several others. This advantage was 
altogether owing to his having been able to outflank the 


rebels, by leading his men across a morass, which the frost 
of the preceding night had rendered passable. It took the 
Duke three hours hard fighting to drive the Highlanders 
back a distance of two miles to the river Allan, and so 
little was it of a rout that within that space they en- 
deavoured ten times to rally. The horse of the rebels 
acted shamefully, confusing the whole army by inexplicable 
blunders in taking up their positions in the morning, and 
deserting the infantry, who fought admirably, during the 
battle, and in such a panic, that neither the thought nor 
power of rallying was left to them. 

While Argyle was gaining this advantage over the left 
of the rebels, their right had signally defeated his left under 
General Whetham. The Breadalbane men under Glen- 
lyon were brigaded with the M'Donalds. Glengarry, it is 
said, looking over the array of his surname drawn up before 
the battle, turned to Glenlyon and said bitterly, " Your 
father has deprived me of the use of an arm " alluding to 
the massacre of Glencoe, which nearly extirpated that 
branch of the McDonalds. " Of that," replied Glenlyon, " I 
am sackless ; and the only rivalry I shall have with a 
M'Donald is, which of us will best wreak on yon ranks to- 
day the injuries of our King." Glengarry turned round 
with a smile, grasped his hand, and begged to be allowed 
to call himself his brother. When Moydart fell in the first 
onset, the M'Donalds clustered around his body, and nearly 
got all the brigade into confusion. Glengarry immediately 
stepped forward flourishing his sword, and recalled the clan 
to their duty, shouting above the din of battle, " Revenge 
to-day, and mourn to-morrow." 

Rae, the contemporary historian of the rebellion, thus 



recounts the victory of the rebel right, and the deeds of 
the forementioned band that really gained that victory : 
" The left of the King's army had a far different fate ; for 
as they were advancing to alter the situation of their front 
according to the right (wing), they found a body of the 
enemy's foot, which had been concealed in a hollow way, 
to be just on their front and extending beyond the point of 
their wing, the enemy's horse being still to their left, and 
in condition to take them in flank. And at the very same 
minute of time, when the right of his Majesty's army en- 
gaged the left of the rebels, four hundred of the Earl ot 
Breadalbane's men, and about two hundred of the clans 
making in all a confused body of 600 men taking the sig- 
nal from the fire of their left, fell on with incredible resolu- 
tion upon the three regiments of foot which were on the 
left of the royal army while they were forming. And 
though they made all the resistance it was possible for 
them to make in that situation, yet they were broken, and 
a great many of them cut to pieces ; and those that were 
not killed or taken were driven in among the dragoons, 
and put them likewise into confusion. Had the cavalry 
upon the right wing of the rebels fallen in at the same 
time, the whole left wing of the royal army had been cut 
off when it was not in the power of the rest of the foot to 
assist them, they being advanced after the right wing to 
support them, in pursuit of the left of the enemy. But so 
it was, that the left of the King's army having made a home 
charge on some of the enemy's squadrons which stood on 
their flank, and carried off a standard, they stood all the 
while looking on to our left without attempting to do any- 
thing considerable. 


" The left of the King's army, commanded by General 
Whetham, observing a great cloud of the Highlanders 
break through the centre close by them, and gathering 
apace, could make no guess of their number, they standing 
so thick and confused, and intercepting their view, so as 
they could neither hear nor see what was acted upon the 
right, which the circular ground upon which the army stood 
would of itself have impeded without any other obstruction, 
and all communication or intelligence by aides-de-camp or 
otherwise being intercepted, made them firmly believe that 
the Duke and the right of the army were either entirely 
beat, or at least surrounded by the rebels ; nor did they 
find themselves in condition to resent or rescue them if it 
had been so. And now finding the rebels endeavouring to 
get behind them, and so either to march to Stirling or cut 
off their retreat, and themselves in no condition to keep 
the field, they retired at a very slow pace towards Dunblane, 
and from thence to Corntown, at the end of the long cause- 
way that leads to Stirling Bridge, where they arrived about 
three in the afternoon." 

The want of a commander who could seize on that deci- 
sive moment when the line of Whetham yielded, ruined the 
Jacobite cause. Mar's incapacity became conspicuous to 
the meanest clansman, when no attempt was made at 
massing together the different sections of the right, for one 
concentrated effort of co-operation againt the retreating 
royal regiments. Without command, without common ac- 
tion, the clans stood astonished in the places to which they 
were appointed at the beginning of the battle, and the 
forces opposed to them being beaten back, knew not what 
they should do next, There they stuck in armed battalions 


on the top of the hill, and though, even as Wightman con- 
fesses, they might have disarranged the Duke's victorious 
right wing returning from chasing their comrades to the 
river Allan, by rolling down stones from their post of van- 
tage, the imbecility of the leaders so effectually counteracted 
the warlike spirit of the clans, that they stood in helpless 
amaze, like a man under a hideous nightmare, incapable, 
though willing, to stretch out his arm to save himself from 
the most loathsome destruction ! 

A ludicrous anecdote has been transmitted to us regard- 
ing an honest man from Roro, Glenlyon, named Duncan 
M'Arthur, which deserves mention. He and his nephew 
had followed the banner of Glenlyon through the whole 
campaign. The nephew's brogues had been worn through 
by the time they reached Ardoch. Considering, perhaps, 
everything fair in war, and that he who was not with them 
was against them, he insisted upon stripping a well-shod 
lowlander, who had the misfortune to encounter him at 
that place, of his stout, comfortable-looking shoes, and of 
giving his own tattered brogues in exchange. As the low- 
lander resisted the polite offer, the fiery Gael made ready 
to enforce the equitable barter vi et armis. Fortunately 
for the possessor of the shoes, honest Duncan, the uncle, 
came up by this time, and as he respected the laws of 
meum and tuum somewhat better than the youngster, he 
took the stranger into his protection, and under hrgh pains 
and penalties, obliged his nephew to forbear. A momen- 
tary laugh at the disappointment of the nephew, and sturdy 
honesty of Duncan known to the whole band for his 
childlike simplicity, but who withal was not to be trifled 
with, as he possessed thews and sinews to strike down 


iniquity like an ox and the incident passed from remem- 
brance. But in the height of the battle, when Duncan had 
warmed to the work, and knocked red-coats heels over 
head at every blow, he raised his stentorian voice above 
the clashing of swords, and shouted out, " Where is my 
nephew ? He may get plenty of shoes now." 


AT the request of the Northumberland rebels for a 
body of infantry, as previously noticed, M'Intosh of 
Borlum, with a force of about 2,500, was detached from the 
main army at Perth, and descended to the coasts of Fife, 
covered by some squadrons of horse under the command 
of Sir John Areskine of Alva, the Master of Sinclair, and 
Sir James Sharp, grandson of the Archbishop. The ex- 
peditionary force had difficulties of the first magnitude to 
encounter, and such as perhaps none in the rebel camp but 
Brigadier M'Intosh would successfully undertake to sur- 
mount. The royal fleet anchored at the mouth of the Firth, 
and cruisers and custom-house smacks incessantly scoured 
from point to point, and removed to Leith all the boats 
they found, pursuant to orders from the Commander-in- 
Chief. Argyle, with his forces, lay ready to take them up 
should they by any accident escape the fleet ; for Mar had 
been in this, as in all other matters during the rebellion, a 
day behindhand. The movement on Stirling, which was 
calculated to draw off Argyle from molesting M'Intosh, had 
been executed only after the latter had effected the passage 
of the Forth. A feint was made to embark at Burntisland, 
while under cover of night (i2th October), the main body 
secretly embarked in open boats at Pittenweem, Crail, Elie, 
and other places on the coast. The fleet, having espied 


the embarkation, weighed anchor ; but the wind was in 
favour of the rebels, and the greater number landed on the 
south coast. One boat with 40 men was captured, and 
others were driven upon the Isle of May, from which they 
got back to the coast of Fife next night. In all about 
1,600 effected the passage; and though but a small 
body, the fame of the leader, the courage of his followers 
who were all picked men and the success with which 
they accomplished the passage of the Forth, augured well 
for the cause in which they had embarked, and wonderfully 
revived the hopes of the rebels, whose spirits had been 
drooping under the inactivity of Mar, and the divided 
councils in the camp at Perth. 

The first night they rested at Haddington ; but next 
day, instead of marching southward to join Derwentwater 
and his friends in the north of England, as intended by 
their leaders, and expected by every person, they suddenly 
faced about and marched for Edinburgh. It was one of 
those moments in which the authority of the chiefs, far 
less the military obedience to which they had never been 
accustomed, failed to check the instinctive impulse of the 

Among the many causes conducive to the eccentric 
movement, was the Highlanders' traditional respect for 
Edinburgh as the capital of Scotland. What Delhi is, or 
was, to the Hindus, " Auld Reekie " was to the rebels 
the city of sacred recollections, the seat of the tribunals, 
which they feared even while they disobeyed them, the 
abode of their ancient kings, from St. David downwards, 
and until recently the place of the national legislative 
assembly. It is not to be forgotten that the avowed object 


of the rebellion was twofold the restoration of the Stuarts 
and the repeal of the Act of Union, which from the first 
had been distasteful to a large section of Scotchmen, and 
was by this time reprobated nearly by all. The passage in 
the manifesto issued by Mar and the leading rebels at the 
commencement of the struggle, bearing upon the subject 
of the union, gave expression, in well chosen words, to the 
feeling generally prevalent among their countrymen, and 
gratified the honest but blind patriotism which sheltered 
itself behind ancient associations and time-honoured pre- 
judices : " Our fundamental constitution has been entirely 
altered and sunk amidst the various shocks of unstable 
faction ; while in the searching out of new expedients, pre- 
tended for our security, it has produced nothing but daily 
disappointments, and has brought us and our posterity 
under a precarious dependence upon foreign councils and 
interests, and the power of foreign troops. The late un- 
happy union y which was brought about by the mistaken 
notions of some, and the ruinous and selfish designs of 
others, has proved, so far from lessening and healing differ- 
ences betwixt his Majesty's subjects of Scotland and 
England, that it has widened and increased them. And it 
appears by experience so inconsistent with the rights, 
privileges, and interests of us and our good neighbours and 
fellow-subjects of England, that the continuance of it must 
inevitably ruin us, and hurt them ; nor can any way be 
found out to relieve us and restore our ancient and in- 
dependent constitution, but by the restoring of our rightful 
and natural king who has the only undoubted right to reign 
over us." 

The Highlanders who crossed the Forth interpreted these 


declarations more strictly than Mar, who probably used 
them as convenient claptrap, ever intended. If they had 
succeeded in effecting a permanent footing in the capital 
a thing that was fairly within the range of probability, had 
the main army at Perth been sooner on the march and led 
by an enterprising General the Scottish Parliament would 
have been revived, and the Stuarts legislatively restored to 
their ancient kingdom of Scotland. This, though far from 
an actual restoration, would be a fiction calculated, in the 
temper of the times, when the strength of prejudices under 
the force of clique and unionistic suppression had acquired 
the virulence of concentrated poison, both to give immediate 
eclat and consistency to the cause, and put the ultimate 
issue upon a greater footing of equality. It proved a 
providential mercy to the British nation, that James's 
advisers did not at that critical period rest their claim upon 
the nationality question pure and simple. True blue 
Presbyterians, such was the feeling then, would risk, for a 
dissolution of the union, and a total separation of the king- 
doms, the advantages of the Protestant succession, and 
take their chance of wrangling afterwards with a Stuart 
King of Scotland about religious privileges, rather than 
consent to be sacrificed (as in the Darien affair) to England's 
merchants, and in the legislature to be swamped (as on the 
Patronage Act) by England's commoners and peers. 

There is no doubt the Highlanders had also been deluded 
into taking this unexpected step by the false representations 
of the Edinburgh Jacobites, who waxed confident in their 
hopes of success through the absence of Argyle at Stirling, 
the unprotected state of the city, and the Jacobite predilec- 
tions of the mob. The Provost, John Campbell, was, how- 


ever, a staunch Protestant, and took his measures for 
opposing the attempts of the rebels with prudence and fore- 
sight. He ordered the city guards, the trained bands, and 
associate-volunteers, to their respective places, for guarding 
the internal peace of the city, and defending it from the 
enemy. On the day the Highlanders were marching upon 
the city, the volunteers issued a "Resolution" which would 
have done no discredit to Louis Napoleon's fire-eating 
Colonels, wherein they " protested and declared, before 
God and the world, that it was their unanimous and hearty 
resolution, by the blessing of God, and the assistance of 
such of their honest neighbours as God should inspire with 
the same sentiments, whether fewer or more, under whatso- 
ever discouragements, to defend the city against the rebels 
to the utmost extremity." The Lord Provost, very wisely, 
did not choose to commit the safety of the capital to the 
untried valour of the associate volunteers. On the morning 
of the 1 4th October, by the time the Highlanders were 
leaving Haddington for Edinburgh, an express was de- 
spatched from the latter city for Stirling, to inform Argyle 
of the threatened advent of the rebels, and to demand a 
detachment of regulars to support the loyal citizens. 

Mar still slumbered at Perth, and had as yet made no 
demonstration whatever to molest the Duke's front, or 
draw off his attention from the detachment of rebels in the 
Lothians. On receipt of the Provost's message, Argyle, 
with his customary promptitude, marched at the head of 
300 dragoons, and 200 picked infantry mounted on country 
horses for expedition's sake, to the relief of the capital. 
By ten at night the relieving force entered the West Port, 
"to the unspeakable joy of the loyal inhabitants." Argyle 


was joined immediately after by the horse militia of Lothian 
and Merse, and a crowd of armed volunteers, who, with 
their commanders the Marquis of Tweeddale and Lord Bel- 
haven, fled to Edinburgh before the rebels. 

The rebels, marching from the east, were within a mile 
of Holyrood, when the Duke and his reinforcements entered 
the city. An exaggerated report of the Duke's arrival with 
his main army brought them speedily to a halt. After a 
Council had been called, they hastily marched to the right 
and entered Leith. They broke open the Tolbooth, and 
rescued the 40 men captured in the boat while crossing the 
Firth. A quantity of brandy and other provisions were 
seized in the custom-house, but private property enjoyed 
every immunity at the hands of these so-called robbers of 
the North. Leith was an open town without fortification : 
but an old square fort, called the citadel, built by Oliver 
Cromwell, had been left standing, though without gates, or 
any protection from assault, beyond what was afforded by a 
dry ditch half-filled up, and ramparts crumbling under the 
effects of time. Here the rebels posted themselves, and 
mounted upon the old walls pieces of cannon, which they 
had audaciously seized by hoarding the ships in the harbour. 
In the same manner, quantities of ammunition, and what- 
ever else was necessary for the defence, had been provided. 
That evening was so actively employed in fortifying the old 
citadel, that next morning it was found by the Commander- 
in-Chief to be a very respectable place of strength in the 
hands of the audacious spirits who then held it. 

Argyle, who had been equally active in preparing for an 
assault, led down his forces early next morning. The 
numbers on both sides were nearly equal ; but though 


Argyle had the advantage of leading 500 regularly trained 
soldiers, the majority of his troops, consisting of the militia, 
new levies, and volunteers, were in nothing except in framing 
bold resolutions, to be matched with the hardy sons of the 
north. Even their ministers, armed to the teeth, failed to 
animate the associate-volunteers. Argyle, however, sum- 
moned the rebels to lay down their arms and surrender, 
declaring that if they obliged him to bring cannon to force 
them, and any of his men were killed in resisting, he would 
grant no quarter. David Stewart of Kynachin, Foss, a 
descendant of that Stewart of Garth who, in spite of all 
James IV. could do, had burned Castle Menzies in 1502, 
and made Sir Robert Menzies a captive, replied resolutely 
to the arrogant summons of the herald, "that as to sur- 
rendering, such a word was not in their native language, 
and they laughed at it ; and as to bringing cannon, and 
assaulting them, they were ready for him. As to quarter, 
they would neither take nor give any quarter with him ; 
and if he thought he was able to force them, he might try 
his hand.' 1 The duke was by this time within 200 paces of 
the citadel, and the enemy's balls were grazing among his 
horse's feet ; and rinding that the fort could not be carried 
without great loss, and "being unwilling to expose the 
brave gentlemen-volunteers to such danger (the life of one 
of whom was worth ten of the enemy), he retired to 
Edinburgh in the evening, to make farther preparations 
for dislodging the enemy on the morrow." Such is the 
account of the loyal historians, but the Highland version 
differs considerably. According to the latter, Argyle was 
obliged to retire on account of the universal dismay of his 
soldiers, and especially of the bold gentlemen-volunteers 


whose courage in presence of the enemy oozed out at their 
fingers'-ends. A ludicrous panic undoubtedly seized upon 
the loyal host in the retreat, and their ranks being all con- 
fused and lost, a panting mob, and not an army, found 
refuge within the city gates. The incident, which is well 
established, confirms the rebel account, and gives edge to 
the coarse joke of the Highlanders, that " the men of the 
cloak^ and bawbee could that night make a fortune in 
Edinburgh " alluding to a rude substitute for sanitary 
conveniences anciently known in "Auld Reekie." 

Before leaving their position in Leith, the rebels sent an 
express across the Firth to Mar, for hastening his march 
to Stirling ; but the Earl fatuously delayed putting his 
army in motion, and the detachments sent to Dunblane for 
making a demonstration were driven back to Perth from 
fear of an attack by Argyle, a few days after the rebels 
abandoned Leith. 

Some hours after the Duke's forces retired, the rebels 
left the citadel of Leith, and, under cover of night, marched 
to Seaton Castle, seven miles from the city. The Duke, 
enraged at their escape, made immediate preparations for 
besieging them in their new position, but was called off 
from the undertaking by the sham movement of Mar's 
detachments to Dunblane, which necessitated his return to 
Stirling with the greater part of his forces. 

He left, however, Colonel Ker, with some troops and 
the gentlemen-volunteers, with orders to attack Seaton 
House, but the moment the gallant horsemen appeared, a 
party of Highlanders marched out of the castle and formed 
in order to receive them, and so the party from Edinburgh, 
thinking, as at Leith, that the better part of valour was dis~ 


cretion, wheeled round and returned to the city. On the 
following morning (Monday, the i/th October), Lord 
Torphichen and the Earl of Rothes made a similar attack, 
and with similar results. 

The Highlanders liked their new position too well to be 
in any hurry to leave it. Their foraging parties brought in 
provisions in abundance, and never had the ceathairnich a 
better opportunity for driving creachs, and the opportunity 
was very well used. On the iQth, however, they left Seaton 
House for England, in accordance with despatches received 
from the Earl of Mar, and a pressing letter from Mr. 
Forster, to join at Kelso or Coldstream, without delay, the 
small body of rebels v/hich had been raised in Dumfries by 
Lord Kenmure. General Whitman followed the High- 
landers with his horse, but did little damage beyond captur- 
ing a few stragglers. The Northumberland rebels were 
also on the March to Kelso at the time the Highlanders 
left Seaton, and the three bodies formed a junction in that 
town upon the 22nd October. The Scots cavalry mustered 
at Kelso paid the Highlanders the well-merited compliment 
of going out to meet them, and of escorting them, amidst 
general enthusiasm, into the town. The Earl of Kenmure 
assumed the command of the army, which now amounted 
to 1,500 foot and 600 horse. 


AT Kelso, Brigadier M'Intosh was superseded by Lord 
Kenmure as Commander-in-Chief, of the expedi- 
tionary force, now recruited by the junction of the Border 
and Northumberland Jacobites. The Highlanders took 
the change of commanders, and the comparative insignifi- 
cance into which they themselves had fallen in the presence 
of the southern horse, and the proud and high-bred cavaliers 
of England, whose haughty overbearing conduct was on 
the occasion but ill-supported by the number of followers 
they brought to support the common cause, in high 
dudgeon ; and it needed but a spark of contention among 
the leaders to light up a general conflagration. That was 
soon supplied. Being informed that General Carpenter, at 
the head of a royal force, was on the march to surprise them 
at Kelso, Kenmure called a council of war to consider and 
determine as to the course proper to be pursued. The 
Earl of Winton and Brigadier M'Intosh, supported by 
Menzies of Culdares, Stewart of Kynachin in fact, by all 
the Perthshire chieftains proposed, as there were no hopes 
of a rising in England, and as, in the absence of such hopes 
it would be madness, with a handful of men, to cross the 
borders, to march back by the western coasts, attacking 
Dumfries and Glasgow on the way, and, joining the Jaco- 
bites in these parts, cross the Forth above Stirling/or'else 
send the Earl of Mar word that they would fall upon the 


Duke of Argyle's rear while he fell on the front. It was 
lucky for the establishment of peace in Scotland that the 
plan was thwarted. The battle of Dunblane could scarcely 
have been what it was with M'Intosh's Highlanders pressing 
on Argyle's rear ; and the Duke's army defeated, the Stuart 
cause might gain an ascendancy in Scotland dangerous to 
the existence of Great Britain as a united kingdom. The 
spirit of the border mosstrooper survived in the southern 
horse ; they shouted for a march or raid into England. 
The English rebels strenuously supported the same counsel, 
and showed, that, by crossing the Tweed, Carpenter and 
his forces could be easily surprised, and the English 
Jacobites would flock to them in thousands. The council 
finally determined upon marching into England; but the 
opposition of the Highland gentlemen was only overborne 
for a time, to break out anew under a more dangerous 
aspect. On the 29th October, they marched to Hawick ; 
and the Highlanders, understanding from their leaders that 
they were being led into England against their will and 
advice, broke out into open mutiny. They separated them- 
selves from the rest, took up a station on Hawick Moor, 
piled their arms, and declared they would fight the enemy 
in their own country, but would not leave their wives and 
children defenceless to go for other people's purposes into 
England. Upon this dispute, the horse surrounded the foot 
in order to force them to march south, whereupon the 
Highlanders cocked their firelocks and said, "If they were 
to be made a sacrifice, they would choose to have it done 
in their own country." " 'Tis agreed (says the historian 
Rae) that while in this humour they would allow none to 
come to speak to them but the Earl of Winton who had 


tutored them in this project, assuring them, as indeed it has 
proven in part, that if they went to England they would be 
all cut in pieces or taken and sold for slaves" It was at last 
agreed they would keep together as long as they stayed in 
Scotland ; but upon any motion of going for England they 
(the Highlanders) would return back. Upon this under- 
standing they continued their march to Hawick. 

At Hawick, means were found to persuade more than 
one half of the Highlanders to march into England, but 
the rest would neither bend to persuasion nor force, and 
returned home to their mountain fastnesses, in disgust at 
the incapacity of titled leaders, and the supineness of the 
fat English. Many of them were taken prisoners by the 
way ; but those who escaped spread such unfavourable 
accounts of matters in the south, as greatly weakened the 
hands of the Pretender's friends, and accelerated the aban- 
donment of their designs. 

The rebels crossed the borders upon the ist November, 
and arrived the same day at Brampton, where Mr. Forster 
opened his commission, by which he was appointed to act 
as their general in England. On the 2nd they marched to 
Penrith. Here they met (or rather they did not meet, for 
they dispersed in consternation before the dreaded High- 
landers came in sight) the posse-conntatus of Cumberland. 
The wonderful magic of a name was never better illus- 
trated : 12,000 stalwart English yeomen would not face as 
many hundreds of the gaunt, grim warriors of the north. 
The route was pursued without much molestation, by easy 
marches, to Preston, whence Stanhope's regiment of dra- 
goons and another of militia retired without striking a 
blow. This was the limit of success. Regular forces, pre 


posterously out of proportion with the handful against 
which they were marching, gradually enclosed the rebels 
in a network of steel. General Willis, with six regiments 
of foot, attacked the town in two places on the I2th 
November, and was repulsed by the rebels with consider- 
able loss. General Carpenter arrived next morning wfth 
three other regiments of horse. The town, not very tenable 
by a larger force, was completely invested. The High- 
landers had no artillery ; and abhorring to be as they said, 
worried like foxes in a " garraidh" they resolutely pro- 
posed to cut their way through the royal host, or perish in 
the attempt. Forster, however, offered to surrender at 
discretion ; and the Highlanders, deserted by their English 
allies, were, after much difficulty, over-ruled, and the whole 
gave up their arms and were imprisoned the common 
men at Chester and Liverpool, and the leaders and chiefs 
sent to London, and conveyed through the streets to the 
Tower and Newgate, with their arms pinioned as male- 

The Highlanders went to England at the pressing solici- 
tations of English Jacobites. They had been promised at 
Hawick, that, as soon as they crossed the border, 20,000 
men would flock to their banner. How was the promise 
fulfilled ? They traversed the counties of Cumberland and 
Westmoreland without obtaining a single recruit. A few 
common people joined them in Lancashire, but not a man 
of family and influence. The Earl of Derwentwater was 
not imitated by his compeers. Look at the Stuart papers ; 
how much was expected from England ? how little from 
Scotland ? It is plain the rebellion of 1715 had been 
planned in England, and its infancy fostered by an ultra- 


English Cabinet. The raising of the Braemar standard, and 
simultaneous gathering of a mighty host, were Scotland's 
response to the bold plots of Bolingbroke and the timid 
wiles of Harley. True, when the Highlanders crossed the 
border, Oxford was in disgrace and Bolingbroke in exile > 
but where were the southern Jacobites the strong faction 
that had ruled England for the previous four years ? 
Where the phalanx of Lords and Commons, who, from the 
8th August, 1710, when Godolphin and the Whigs were 
dismissed, to the ist August, 1714, when Argyle burst upon 
the dismayed and irresolute Council of incipient traitors to 
crush treason in the bud, had been paving, as it were, in 
their shirt sleeves, the road of restoration for the Stuarts ? 
Where the learned doctors who taught passive obedience 
and non-resistance, and proved the hereditary indefeasible 
right of the Chevalier de St. George as easily and satis- 
factorily as the first problem in Euclid ? 

It is an ascertained fact that England of modern days 
shows, on entering upon momentous affairs, more of the 
spirit of Athelstane the Unready than of the fiery race of 
Normandy. The aristocracy were generally high-preroga- 
tive and high-church at heart ; but their heavy pledges to 
fortune prevented them from joining in a rebellion, the 
success of which was not beyond the caprice of chance. 
They could not, in a civil war, bring the same material 
support, at a moment's warning, to the side they espoused, 
as the poorest peer in Scotland the beggarly Lovat, for 
instance because in England there was a sharp distinction 
of classes, and the clannish spirit which bound high and low 
in common sympathies had never been known. The 
sensible middle classes in England, in this very quarrel, sup- 


ported with uniform heartiness the cause of civil liberty and 
of the Protestant succession ; while the lowest classes cared 
not a straw who gained or lost, provided they saved their 
" own bacon." 

Lord Bolingbroke's plans were astutely laid, but seem- 
ingly the extent of his wisdom led him astray. For the 
ultimate safety of British liberty, kind Providence ordained 
he should have been a diligent and discriminating student 
of history. He knew the nature of his countrymen too 
well to expect a restoration, except through the bloodless 
and constitutional way of parliamentary sanction. He was 
taught by the history of the preceding century, that the 
continuity of the absolute monarchy to be founded on such 
a restoration could be guaranteed only on the condition of 
melting down and recasting the national character. He 
prepared with singular audacity to bring both results 
about ; the first, by constituting the high-prerogative party 
the ruling mind of the country, through a strict Tory Parlia- 
ment, which had been suddenly changed from a triennial 
to a septennial lease of existence ; the second, by shutting 
the door of public office and employment, through the 
revival of the Sacramental Test, upon the friends of liberty 
and true representatives of Covenanters and Puritans, 
and by a series of measures, either passed or proposed 
to be passed, by which the governing body should ex- 
clusively belong to the Church of England, and by which 
that Church should henceforward and for ever become the 
slave of a Popish monarch, or his sceptic satrap. Scotland, 
too, entered into his comprehensive schemes of universal 
subjugation. The Scottish nobles, with a few exceptions, 
hated the blue banner of the Covenant like the " gates of 


hell." But when Presbyterianism triumphed in spite of 
them, they found it expedient to court the object of hatred 
and recent persecutions ; the sons and grandsons of per- 
secutors sat in the Assembly of 1710 ; but soon titled 
names diminished and gradually disappeared, till in a very 
short period only a few empty ones (empty names, for the 
owners seldom attended), as at present, remained to grace 
the roll of membership. Why was this ? Well, that last 
very patriotic ministry of Queen Anne, by two cleverly 
devised measures, released the gentry from unpleasant 
Presbyterian parity, and gave them the power, as of yore, 
to " lord it over God's heritage." The Act of Toleration, 
passed in 1711, extended valuable privileges, and afforded 
a legal footing to the semi-popish Episcopal Church, which, 
as a more exclusive and aristocratic religious community, 
and as the champion of those ideas palatable to feudal pride 
and Jacobitical leaning, gathered at once into its folds the 
Toryism of Scotland. It was not in any way an act of 
homage to the rights of conscience (conscience and 
Scottish Episcopacy could scarcely be spoken of in the same 
breath ; as it was a pariah of the State from the beginning) 
the infidel secretary had no such word in his vocabulary, 
but a home-thrust at the political influence of the Church of 
Scotland. This blow was immediately followed by another 
still more fatal. "The next step taken by this Tory 
Parliament, against the Established Church of Scotland, 
was, to restore Patronage, thus depriving the people of 
their just power of choosing and calling their own ministers, 
and lodging that power in the hands of the Patrons of the 
several parishes, with a view to fill up the vacancies with 
such as might afterwards serve their designs in case of a 


new revolution ; to give them an opportunity to keep the 
livings in their own hands ; or to employ them for the 
support of Jacobite Conventicles ; which 'tis known they 
actually did in many parts of the nation ; and to irritate 
the people against the Church for yielding to that which 
they cou'd not help, and wou'd fain had stopped." 

Such were the cool, far-seeing projects by which the re- 
habilitation of hereditary right was to be made conditional 
upon casting the future mind of Britain in a Helot mould, 
and upon drugging the springs of religion with the specifics 
of state policy, to make it subserve the minister or monarch 
of the day. Everything was in train for a legislative restora- 
tion ; but lo ! Anne dies, and the splendid conspiracy bursts 
like a soap bubble ; and the daring plotter sees the pro- 
jects rife with plagues for his country fail to bring about 
his primary object, quarrels with the prince on whose 
behoof he sold himself to evil, returns again to live under 
the safeguard of the constitution he half-subverted, and, 
after a life of vicissitudes, unfortunate for himself, and 
detrimental to his country, dies well deserving, by his 
infidel works, published by Mallet after his death, the un- 
forgotten censure of Johnston " He was a villain and a 
coward, sir ; a villain, for charging a blunderbuss against 
morality and religion ; and a coward, for not daring to fire 
it off, but leaving a shilling to a beggarly Scotchman to do 
it after his death." 

But let us turn to the encaged dupes of the English con- 
spirators. The word was, " Behead and quarter ; hang 
and slay." Menzies of Culdares, against whom a billa vera 
had been found, after a pretty long imprisonment, was 
pardoned on account of his youth, being under 21. The 


other officers and chiefs were not so fortunate, several of 
them being put to death. The common men got seven 
years' penal servitude in the colonies. The Glenlyon men 
were mostly sent to Maryland, from which few ever re- 
turned. There is an authentic story told of one of them 
which is worth recounting. 

John M'Intyre, Moar, Glenlyon, was betrothed to a young 
woman before he joined the rebels. Being taken at Pres- 
ton, he was sentenced to seven years' transportation with 
his companions. When made aware of his fate, he managed 
to send word to his betrothed, that he would return, if 
alive, when his term expired ; but that if he did not come 
home at the end of the eighth year, she might conclude he 
was dead. The Maryland planter whose bondsman he be- 
came was a hard taskmaster; he stated afterwards, that 
he received more kindness from a negro slave who was his 
fellow- workman than from any person of his own country and 
colour in America. When his time was nearly out, while 
he and this negro were working in the wood, one of the 
planter's horses was killed by the falling of a tree. M'Intyre 
was adjudged to an additional year's servitude. Meantime 
his betrothed counted the days, and awaited their expiry 
with some apprehension, as, after much solicitation, she 
had been obliged to promise her friends, who did not ap- 
prove of her fidelity, to accept of another suitor for her 
hand if MTntyre appeared not at the time he had set him- 
self. The eighth year passed over her, and no word of the 
exile. She still delayed, and put off, till the family 
council would bear it no longer; and so, well on in the 
ninth year after the rebellion she yielded obedience, and 
the night of "ceanghall" with the new suitor was ap- 


pointed. No one more strongly advised her to obey her 
friends than M'Intyre's widowed mother, who considered 
her son dead by this time, or despaired, if alive, of ever 
seeing him again. The widow, however, did not appear 
at the " betrothal," as she promised ; and the reluctant 
bride, glad of the opportunity of escaping for a while, in- 
sisted upon going to see what hindered her. The old woman 
told her a beggar had asked for hospitality, and she was 
obliged to keep at home to entertain him. It was im- 
mediately proposed by the bride to invite the beggar and 
his entertainer both to the " ceanghall " feast. With this 
purpose, going into the hut to address him, she discovered 
to her great delight her old betrothed in the stranger, who 
had struggled home to claim his bride ; but finding her 
on the point of marrying another, hesitated to reveal who 
he was, till thus accidentally unmasked by the eye of affec- 
tion. It was not yet too late. The new suitor was dis- 
carded, and the old one installed in his place ; and long 
and happily lived together the faithful couple that made 
" love the lord of all." 


JOHN CAMPBELL of Glenlyon took such a conspicu- 
ous part in the rebellion of 1716, that on the collapse 
thereof he had to leave the country. With Struan and other 
acquaintances he succeeded in escaping to France. He 
remained for some years in the neighbourhood of Bordeaux, 
where he lived under the name of " John Smith." Had he 
been caught red-handed after the battle of Dunblane, he 
would, no doubt, have been put to death, as he was the man 
who first took up arms and invaded the loyal county of 
Argyle ; but when the fear and vindictiveness of the 
Hanoverian dynasty had time to diminish, influences were 
brought to bear on the Ministry and on the Court in favour 
of the escaped rebels, which in most instances proved suc- 
cessful. The Duke of Argyle used all his power to get 
Glenlyon and his neighbour, the " Elector " of Struan, free 
pardons. The Breadalbane influence also was now strong, 
and it was strongly used on Glenlyon's behalf. "Pale 
John," the first Earl of Breadalbane, was by this time 
dead. He was succeeded by his second son, John, Lord 
Glenorchy, who was a strong Hanoverian. His eldest son, 
Duncan, Lord Ormelie, was set aside because of his imbe- 
cility. They were both the sons of the first earl, by his 
first wife, Mary Rich, daughter of the Earl of Holland, 
who lost his life for his loyalty to Charles I. Duncan's 


weakness was so apparent, that when the title of earl was 
conferred on his father by Charles II., the patent itself 
contained a clause for setting him aside. He lived for 
many long years, after his brother's succession to estates 
and titles, in the care of a man of the name of M'Intyre, at 
Killin, where he said many sharp things, and did many 
foolish acts. M'Intyre himself was a character in his way. 
He was nick-named Curam-an-t-saoghail or " Care-of-the- 
world." The estate of Breadalbane was at this time under 
trust to save it from forfeiture, as well as to pay creditors. 
The new earl was therefore poor enough, but being loyal 
to the Whig Government, he exercised considerable influ- 
ence in his own region, and his son, Lord Glenorchy, by his 
marriage with the heiress of the Duke of Kent, obtained a 
footing at Court, and among the English nobility, which 
he kept to the end of his long life, although he quickly lost 
his heiress wife, who died in giving birth to a daughter, 
afterwards the Marchioness of Grey. Thanks to the efforts 
of his powerful clansmen, John Campbell of Glenlyon was 
allowed, in the course of a few years, to return to his home, 
as if he had not rebelled at all. During his exile his wife 
and family were not interfered with. He constituted 
Duncan M'Gregor of Roro, who called himself " Duncan 
Campbell," his negotiorum gestor, or factor, during absence. 
Money was regularly remitted to him, and his wife managed 
matters so well at home, that he had really on his return 
great cause to be thankful. It is, however, by quarrels 
between himself and Duncan M'Gregor his factor, that we 
can prove he returned home before 1722. On his coming 
back he proceeded forthwith to build Glenlyon House, for 
which he got timber from the sawmill at Roro. The estate 


of Roro is now bare enough of timber. But it had then so 
much of it that it kept a sawmill going. The superiority 
of Roro had by this time been acquired by the Earl of 
Breadalbane, who also had a mortgage upon the lands of 
the vassal McGregors of Roro. The McGregors opposed 
the delivery of the timber to Glenlyon ; and so we find the 
Breadalbane Trustees thus writing "to John Campbell, 
younger, of Roro," who was of course the younger 
M'Gregor : 

" SIR the delivery of the sawmill cut stocks and made deals at 
Roro to Glenlyon, has been verrie long 1 , and we apprehend, unecessarly 
delay'd. This is to desire you forthwith to deliver all these things 
above mentioned to Glenlyon, and let his men of skill be brought to 
the sawmill who shall make inventory of the mill and its appurtenances 
and appreciate them all, mentioning the condition in which the mill 
was and what it now is. The rule, in case of woods, with regard to 
the grass, is, that what's before the ox belongs to the cutter. We re- 
commend to you to accomodate Glenlyon in that particular as well as 
the place will allow, without making any difficulties. And we recom- 
mend to your father and you to use the best means you can to restrain 
the tenants of the Wadsett lands from cutting or carreing away any of 
the fir and timber ; for we agree that if any of these are faulty or 
criminal in that behalf, that Glenlyon use them with the utmost rigour 
and severity. Again we insist upon it that you make all this matter 
easy to Glenlyon. We are pretty sure 'twill be doing yourself a 
service as it shall be agreeable to 

Your Humble Servants, 


MONZIE, 25th MAY, 1725. 

The young McGregors resisted Glenlyon's men after this 
warning, and had to be again sharply threatened by the 


Breadalbane Trustees, who finally forced them to yield. 
But Duncan M'Gregor, alias Campbell, their father, 
hampered Glenlyon on his return from France in another 
way. Before his exile Glenlyon owed Duncan M'Lean 
Ardtrasgairt 300 merks, for which Duncan held Glenlyon's 
bond. M'Gregor bought, or in some way acquired, M 'Lean's 
bond, and no sooner did Glenlyon return than his late 
factor got a charge of horning against him for the payment 
of capital, interest and penalties. To say the least of it> 
this was sharp practice, and Glenlyon, resisting the sort of 
payment demanded, asked for a suspension of proceedings, 
as shown by the following minute of what took place be- 
fore the Court of Session judge, Lord Newhall, on the 2gth 
June, 1723, the agents for the respective parties being 
Macleod and Fleming : " Macleod accepts the charge 
founded upon a bond by the suspender to Duncan M'Lean, 
and assigned by him to the charger, and craves the letters 
may be found orderly proceeded. Fleming repeats his 
reasons of suspension Prime, that the suspender being 
necessarily abroad, out of the country, that the charger 
during that time was his negotiorum gestor, and as such 
concerned in setting his lands, uplifting of his rents, and 
holding of his courts ; therefore any debts of the suspender's 
transacted by the charger, or to which he acquired right in 
that period, ought to be subject and liable to the same ex- 
ceptions and manner of probation that they would have 
been liable to, had they remained in the person of the 
cedent ; and it is offered to be proven that the debt charged 
for is paid to the cedent or to others by his orders, scripto 
vel juramento of the cedent : 2do. It is presumed to have 
been done with the suspender's own money and effects, at 


least any cause given to the charger when he acquired the 
right to the foresaid debt ; and further, $tio. The suspender 
alleges and offers to instruct compensation of the sums 
charged for by debts due by M'Lean, the creditor in the 
bond charged on, and the charger cedent, which were paid 
by the suspender on his account, and partly assigned to 
him which instruction of compensation the suspender 
shall produce in termine" Macleod objected on technical 
grounds, but Lord Newhall on the condition that the sus- 
pender consigned into the clerk's hands twelve pounds 
Scot, sustained the reasons of suspension, and when the 
action came to be decided on its merits, M'Gregor made no 
profit out of his sharp practices. 

On his return from France, as previously mentioned, 
Glenlyon began to build Glenlyon House. He and his 
family had hitherto lived at Chesthill with his mother^ 
Helen Lindsay. The farm and house of Chesthill had 
been settled on her at her marriage with Robert Campbell 
of Glenlyon, to whom she bore a numerous family of 
daughters, besides Laird John and Robert the best 
swordsman of his age, but a wild scamp who was a lieu- 
tenant in Lord Carmichael's Regiment of Horse. The 
daughters were said to be very good looking, and although 
poor, were sought in marriage by neighbouring lairds. 
Robert Campbell of Boreland married Janet, the eldest of 
the daughters, who thus became grandmother of the first 
Marquis of Breadalbane. Macnab of Macnab married 
another of them, and Alexander Campbell of Ardeonaig a 
third. One was drowned in the Lyon, and her body 
never recovered. Helen Lindsay's nephew or perhaps a 
younger brother figured badly in the massacre of Glencoe. 


Popular opinion attributed to Helen's extravagance the 
loss of the estate, and the misfortunes of her husband. 
On her death, about 1726, Chesthill fell in to James Menzies 
of Culdares, who thereupon had a tiff with his neighbour 
and brother Jacobite about teind sheaves. 

Glenlyon was by no means a contentious man, but after 
his return from France, it seemed as if he never could get 
free from contentions for the remainder of his life. The 
boundary of his estate was difficult to settle, for different 
encroachments had almost become rights, and the Duke of 
Athole had to intervene, after swords had been drawn and 
blows given. But after the marches had been "cleared," 
another hitch took place ; for on the I3th August, 1731, His 
Grace James, Duke of Athole, complained to the Bailie of 
his own court at Logierait " on Mr. John Menzies son to 
Captain James Menzies of Comrie, that when in the month 
of September, 1730, His Grace, on the one part, and John 
Campbell of Glenlyon, on the other part, having cleared 
marches betwixt Easter Drumcharry and East-end of 
Fortingall, they signed articles thereanent, and deposited 
them in the defender's hands until they should be registered, 
that each party should have one extract since there was but 
one double of the principal ; therefore the said defender 
should be descerned to exhibit the said articles in the Clerk 
of Court's hand to be registered as effeired." The Bailie, 
Alexander Murray, decerned accordingly, and the defender 
promptly obeyed. 

John, the Laird's eldest son, a dark, stern, honourable, 
and persevering youth, who had never the slightest 
sympathy with his father's Jacobite views, and who believed 
that " the curse of Glencoe " lay heavy upon himself and 


the family to whom he belonged, after having been attached 
to an Independent Company, obtained a commission in the 
Black Watch, or Freiceadan Dubh. The second son, David, 
became, on the 5th of July, 1738, bound apprentice for three 
years to "James Smyth, chyrurgeon-apothecary in Perth/ 
to learn " the art and science of pharmacy and chyrurgery." 
The Laird paid down 600 merks as apprentice fee, and 
bound himself to keep the lad in clothes and pay for his 
washing, while the master bound himself to give him bed 
and board, on conditions of perfect obedience, and to make 
him carry himself discreetly and attend divine worship on 
the Lord's Day. David, after learning all the Perth master 
could teach him, completed his medical training, I believe, 
in Edinburgh, and about 1744 went to Jamaica, where he 
remained nearly thirty years ; and was a credit to his pro- 
fession and the country of his birth, although from his 
generous and honourable nature he did not make much of 
a fortune. Dr. David had much trouble with his next 
brother, Duncan, who followed him to Jamaica, flourished 
for a while, took then to irregular ways, and next engaged 
in the slave trade, if, indeed, he did not go the length of 
piracy. Duncan finally disappeared on the Spanish coast 
of South America, where according ta some reports he 
assumed a Spanish name and married a Spanish lady ; but 
it was the belief of his own family that he came to a violent 
end, and not in Peru or Chili. Be that as it may, he gave 
Dr. David trouble at the beginning of his career in Jamaica. 
Laird John's eldest daughter before her brother left home, 
married Balneaves of Edradour. She was the only one of 
her father's children, male or female and there were eight 
of them who lived to good age that ever married. Miss 


Kitty, Miss Molly, and Miss Jennie, were not indeed so 
bonnie, nor perhaps so accomplished, as their tocherless 
aunts, but they were honest, kindly women, who in their 
small sphere did some good, and were respected by high 
and low. Archie Roy, the youngest son, and last of the 
family except Jennie, was the Laird's favourite. With stern 
John, his able soldier son, who gained his captaincy amidst 
the thunders of Fontenoy, where the bravery of the Black 
Watch astonished Europe, the Jacobite Laird had little 
sympathy. That eldest son of his redeemed his debts, 
kept him out of wasteful lawsuits, and was the real stay of 
the family, but his father thought him a hard taskmaster, 
and the rebellion of 1745 severed them entirely. 

" The Elector of Struan " and Glenlyon were too old for 
active service in the field when Prince Charlie unfurled the 
White Standard of the Stuarts for the last time on British 
soil. They were not, however, too old to fan the flames of 
civil war and send other men to the field. Glenlyon, it is 
supposed, was the man who caused the fiery cross to be 
sent round Breadalbane to raise recruits for the" Prince, in 
spite of Breadalbane's Earl, and of his son Lord Glenorchy, 
who was actively mustering forces on King George's side, 
and who, by holding the passes and old Grampian line of 
defence with three thousand men, forced the Prince and his 
clans after Falkirk to skirt the hills and follow the east 
coast route which proved their ruin to fatal Culloden. The 
Laird sent his own darling son, Archie Roy, to fight for the 
Prince, although Archie was at the time only a sunny- 
faced lad of fifteen. James Menzies of Culdares sent 
the Prince secretly a gift horse of dun colour au t-eachodhar 
of evil fame to mark his loyalty, by John M'Naughtan, 


who subsequently was hanged at Carlisle, not as Glenlyon, 
opinion would have it, because he would rot tell who sent 
the horse, but because he despatched Colonel Gardner 
with a scythe stroke, when he lay wounded on the field of 
Prestonpans. Yet, although this was the crime for which 
John was tried and hanged, it may be true enough that he 
could save his life by betraying Culdares which with 
Highland fidelity he refused to do. As Culdares acted 
with more prudence than Glenlyon, the Jacobites of Glen- 
lyon and Fortingall looked to Archie Roy as their only 
local leader, although he was truly too young to lead. 

When the rebellion collapsed, old Struan and old Glen- 
lyon deemed it prudent to go into hiding places. Archie 
Roy, who was in real danger, spent the summer after 
Culloden in the sheilings at Lochs, passing as the son of 
Patrick Campbell Roroyare. His father was in no danger 
whatever, although very much afraid of his own son and of 
Mr. Fergus Ferguson, the uncompromising minister of 
Fortingall, who had, by his boldness in speech and action, 
prevented many wavering people from taking the Prince's 
side when the sun shone on it, and who now justified the 
policy of Cumberland and the Government to handle matters 
in such a way as to make another Stuart rising impossible. 
The Laird did not go further than the Black Wood of 
Chesthill, and Patrick M'Arthur his old tenant, for a hiding 
place and a safe protector. Lieutenant John, his heir, was 
unfortunately sent by the Government to burn the houses 
of the Bunrannoch rebels, and this made the old Laird's 
cup of bitterness run over, although it was admitted that 
Lieutenant John, and indeed all the officers and men of the 
Black Watch, carried out their orders with exceeding 


reluctance, and with all possible consideration for the 

The son, whom the broken-down old Jacobite declared in 
his wrath to be no son of his, strained every nerve to get 
protections for his father and young brother. His own 
merits and the influence of Argyle and Breadalbane en- 
abled him to succeed. Before the end of the summer after 
Culloden, Genlyon returned to the bosom of his family once 
more a free man, but he never recovered health or spirits 
any more. He must have died at the beginning of the year 
1746, for we find his wife, z&fzctrix for her son Lieutenant 
John, on April 3Oth, 1747, caused the farm stock belonging 
to him to be sold by public roup. At the time of his death, 
Glenlyon had not much land in his own hands. His stock 
consisted of thirty-three goats which were bought by James 
Menzies at the Milne of Aberfeldy, for one hundred and 
sixteen pounds, twelve shillings Scots ; forty sheep sold to 
the said James Menzies for the very same sum he paid 
for the thirty-three goats ; seventeen cows bought by 
Alexander Cameron, forester of Mamlorne, at 20 Scots, or 
i 33. 4d. Sterling per head ; and a black horse which 
James Campbell, dyer, Killin, bought for 61 43. Scots. 
When the old Laird died, the leading Jacobites of the 
district were still in hiding, or out of the country. Still he 
had a great funeral. If the gentry were not so numerous 
as they would have been in other circumstances, the common 
people gathered from far and near in great numbers to pay 
their last mark of respect to a man who had always been 
popular with high and low. 


JOHN CAMPBELL of Glenlyon who came afterwards 
to be called, "An Coirneal Dubh " "The Black 
Colonel," received his commission as a lieutenant in 
the Black Watch, or 42nd regiment, in December, 1744, but 
he was connected with an Independent Company long 
before the regiment was embodied. When appointed a 
lieutenant of the additional companies then about to be 
raised, he was with the army in Flanders. His conduct at 
Fontenoy attracted the notice of the Duke of Cumberland, 
and he was promised a captaincy without purchase as soon 
a vacancy occurred. That promise was fulfilled in March, 
1748, when he was made an additional captain ; but in- 
stead of remaining with the Highlanders, he went on half 
pay, and almost immediately exchanged into the Marines. 
The true explanation for this proceeding is to be found in 
the strange fatalism of the man. From his boyhood to 
his grave he believed that it was his fate to bear an in- 
herited curse. As a man who remembered him once told 
me " Bit dnine air leth an Coirneal Dubk, oir b'e bheachd 
fhein riamh gu'n robh seun mallachd Ghlinne-comhann air'' 
" A man by himself was the Black Colonel ; for he ever 
believed that the evil spell of the curse of Glencoe was 
upon him." It became his and Captain James Menzies of 
Comrie's sad burden to be ordered to burn the houses, 


drive away the cattle, and capture the persons of Perthshire 
Highland friends and relatives who had been with Prince 
Charlie. They performed their disagreeable duties with as 
little harshness, and as much forbearance, as their orders 
and duty permitted. That, however, did not save them from 
Jacobite obloquy, and the coarse satires of Allan Stewart 
of Innerhadden. To young Glenlyon, whose father and 
brother were fugitive rebels, the cross was particularly 
heavy. He attributed his misfortune to the curse of Glen- 
coe, and the feeling that he was fated to drie an evil weird 
through a long life grew upon him. The Caledonian Mercury 
of March, 1747, contains the following paragraph : 

" Lieutenant John Campbell of Glenlyon, and Ensign John Grant of 
Glenmoriston, with a strong detachment from the additional com- 
panies of the Black Watch, sailed in the fleet for Flanders. When 
it was notified to the men that only a part of them was to join the 
army, all claimed the preference to be permitted to embark, and it 
was necessary to draw lots, as none would remain behind." 

Glenlyon fought with distinction through the campaign 
in Flanders, and got his step without purchase ; but when 
his regiment returned to England in 1748, he exchanged 
into the Marines because he wished to sever himself as much 
as possible from all scenes and associations which recalled 
the curse of Glencoe. A few Highlanders of his district 
followed him, however, rather against his wish, into a 
branch of the service which had not hitherto been popular 
with them. These men used long afterwards to tell their 
children and grandchildren how the shadow of the curse 
darkened Glenlyon's life wherever he went. They described 
him as a man who seldom laughed, except on battle days, 
a stern disciplinarian, but a just and kindly commander, 
who took greater care of his men than of himself. " He 


car aid a dJiaoine e's Ue'n laocJis an iomairt e." "He was the 
friend of his men and the hero in the strife/' said a man 
whose grandfather had long served under him, and who no 
doubt faithfully repeated that grandfather's opinion of his 

He put the affairs of his estate in the best order he could, 
and constituted his mother his factrix before leaving for 
Flanders in 1747. From that year till 1769, he was always 
on active service in different parts of the world. He was 
with Admiral Rodney's expedition, and commanded eight 
hundred Marines at the capture of Havannah in 1762. On 
that occasion he earned not only a great deal of praise, but 
of prize money also. His estate meanwhile had been 
cleared of debt. His mother advised in difficult cases by 
' John Campbell of the Bank," proved herself to be the 
best of managers. She and her daughters lived quietly, 
plainly, but hospitably and happily, at Glenlyon House. 
For some time after his rehabilitation, Archie Roy, the 
young ex-rebel, lived with his family, and no one could, if 
we may trust the reports handed down, go nearer extract- 
ing sunshine from cucumbers than he. His sister Molly 
was also full of merriment, while Kitty was sarcastic, and 
Jennie, the youngest, was quaint and credulous. In 1749, 
the Rev. Fergus Ferguson, minister of Fortingall, died, and 
the Jacobites of the parish were far from sorry. They had 
done their best to ostracise him ; but he was not the man 
to stand that sort of thing. It was whispered, however, 
that his death resulted from being tumbled into the river, 
as if by an accident, out of the ferry boat at Laggan, on a 
dark night, by a vengeful Jacobite. The plunge into the 
wintry water gave him a cold, which he neglected, and the 


cold carried him off. It was said that " he walked " after 
his death. He had acted manfully and faithfully according 
to his conscience and views, and if he was not to be stopped 
by trifles from keeping his parishioners by all means 
in his power from rushing into rebellion, after Culloden 
he appears to have acted more kindly towards the rebels 
than some of them were prepared to act towards him. 

Archie Roy, like his brothers John and David, was well 
educated. They all possessed in a remarkable degree the 
gift of writing sprightly, well-composed, and well-spelt 
letters. But the Coirneal Dubh, until he retired from 
active service, was generally content with sending home 
short business missives, and David was at times prosy ? 
while some way or other the youngest brother always 
bubbled over with light-hearted humour, even when he 
wished to be solemn and serious. They all received their 
early education at the Fortingall parish school, which had 
then an excellent classical scholar as teacher, but I sup- 
pose they must have afterwards been to St. Andrew's, or 
Edinburgh, before going out into the world, although it is 
sure in Archie's case that he had not been to college before 
he followed Prince Charlie. He had however plenty of 
time afterwards to complete his education. The sisters 
were by no means so well educated as the brothers, perhaps 
because they could not be sent, like the boys, to the parish 
school, and because governesses were then scarce. Sar- 
castic Kitty could write smartly, but her spelling was of 
the most irregular phonetic kind imaginable. Molly wrote 
like a school-girl, with some trouble, and uncertain efforts 
at correctness, while Jennie could do little more than just 
sign her name, 


On the 5th January, 1757, Archie Roy received a com- 
mission as lieutenant in the 75th Regiment, or Fraser's 
Highlanders, the colonel and many officers and men of 
which were ex-rebels like himself. The regiment was 
instantly sent to America. It landed at Halifax, Nova 
Scotia, in June, 1757. Many Glenlyon and Fortingall lads 
followed Archie Roy to the field, as they did eleven years 
earlier, when he was only a boy, to Prestonpans, Derby, 
Falkirk, and Culloden. The 75th joined the expedition 
against Lewisburg, and fought nobly throughout the whole 
of the war, which ended in the British conquest of Canada. 
Archie Roy was one of the officers wounded in the suc- 
cessful defence of Quebec, on the 28th of April, 1760. It 
was supposed at first that he could not recover, and 
although he did recover, and that quickly too, his wound 
gave him a good deal of trouble for the rest of his life, and 
in the end shortened his days. He received his commission 
as captain before he was out of hospital, and remained at 
Quebec for the next two years, and then returned home with 
his regiment, or at least with as much of it as wished to return 
home instead of settling on land grants in Canada. As the 
regiment was disbanded on coming home, Captain Campbell 
retired from the service on half-pay, and lived at Glenlyon 
House for some years with his mother and sisters. 

The following case in which he acted as Major Mac- 
pherson's agent, while at Quebec, shows how the purchase 
system worked in the old times. 

" Copie of the claim given in by Capt. Archibald Campbell to the 
gentlemen arbitrators. 


I shall here lay before you, as briefly as I can, every- 


thing relating to the purchase and sale of Major M'Pherson's Com- 
pany, late of the ;8th Regiment. 

"When the said major gave in his resignation, October, 1760, Captain 
Campbell of the said regiment was recommended to be his successor 
to the majority, and Lieutenant David Baillie was also recommended, 
as purchaser of Captain Campbell's Company, for both which the 
said major was to receive .1,500 sterling to be paid to him in the 
following manner : 

" Major Campbell to pay ,400 for the majority, Lieut. Baillie to pay 
800 for the company, the lieutenant and ensign to pay the remaining 
,300 which made up the sum above mentioned. 

" Colonel Fraser engaged to give sterling bills to this amount (on 
Baillie's account) if Lieut. Baillie was approved of and got the com- 
pany. On account of Baillie's youth and short service, His Excellency, 
General Amherst, refused giving him the purchase at that time, but 
gave Major MTherson leave to go home. 

" On this occasion the major left a power in my hands to receive the 
price of his company, and to give his successor, or any concerned, 
discharges for the same. 

"About the middle of March, 1761, Lieut. John Nairn was recom- 
mended as purchaser of the said company, whose former service and 
rank in the regiment instituted to the purchase, preferable to Lieut. 
Baillie. Sometime in June following his commission was sent to the 
commanding officer of the regiment, dated 24th April, 1761. 

" In July after, Captain John Nairn paid 600 of the purchase money 
in sterling bills of exchange, and made an offer of ^"400 more in cash 
to Major Campbell at the exchange of 45. 8d. or 45. rod. per dollar, as 
no bills of exchange could be purchased at that rate in town. The 
said major or any concerned could not accept of this money, as they 
could not remitt it home without a considerable discompt. 

" I Imagine, as Lieut. Nairn succeeded to Lieut. Baillie's purchase,he 
is certainly liable to all the agreements made with the said Baillie, as 
there was no other made with him, or any other on his account. 

" I beg that the gentlemen arbitrators will consider theabove, and de- 
termine whether it is not in like cases agreeable to the practice of the 
army, J:hat Captain Nairn should be made liable to pay the sum pro- 
mised and agreed upon with Baillie, and also the manner in which 
the same ought to be paid ; and lastly, whether it is not agreeable to 
the said practice, that the purchaser should pay the lawfull interest for 


the money agreed upon from the date of his commission till the arrival 
of the bills, and until these bills are accepted of ; especially as the pay- 
ment is so long deferred, as in this case it is, and by what appears to 
me an omission in the purchaser. 

" I beg leave to inform you, gentlemen, that the aforesaid sum of 
^"400 lies still in Major Campbell's hands, dead to the purchaser and 
seller since July last, 

And am, &c., 

" Copie of the Sentence of the Arbitrators. 

"Whereas the Honourable James Murray, Esqr., Governor of 
Quebec, in behalf of Captain John Nairn, of the 78th regiment, on the 
one part, and Captain Archibald Campbell of the said regiment in 
behalf of John M'Pherson, Esyr., late major also of the said regiment 
on the other part, have thought proper by an instrument dated the 5th 
day of this present month of April, to nominate and appoint us whose 
names are underwritten to be arbitrators and umpires in a dispute 
arisen between said Major M'Pherson and Captain John Nairn, in 
relation to a company purchased by the latter from the former in the 
said 78th Regiment. 

" We, the arbitrators, having taken the same into our most serious 
consideration, and heard all that the several parties had to say on the 
occasion, having also enquired into the usual price paid for companies 
in the 78th Regiment, which we find by the concurrent testimony of 
Captains Archibald and Alexander Campbell of the said regiment, to 
have never at any time exceeded one thousand pounds sterling. 

" We, the said arbitrators, unanimously award that Captain John 
Nairn do pay unto Major John M'Pherson the sum of one thousand 
pounds sterling for the company according to the custom of the said 
regiment, and as it would be the height of injustice for Captain Nairn 
to be bound by a bargain made with his junior in the same regiment, 
to whom on that account and by reason of his youth it was of the 
highest consequence at any price to gain rank. 

" As the delay of payment has been owing to Major M'Pherson's 
claiming what does not appear to be his right, we, the arbitrators, 
further judge that Captain Nairn should pay the four hundred pounds 


" And that during the said period he shall appoint Pat. Murray as his 
depute, and that Mr. James Murray continue Clerk of Supply. 

" That Captain Campbell pay to the said Patrick Murray the like sum 
of ^65 during his continuance in office, but with the burden of relieving 

"For the foregoing reasons the Arbitrators cannot think Major 
M'Pherson entitled to any interest on the said purchaser's money. 

" Given under our hands at Quebec, this 6th day of April ', 1762. 



" A true Copy, H. T. CRAMAHE, Secy. n 

In 1766, Captain Campbell was a candidate for the office 
of Collector of Cess in Perthshire. The Earl of Breadal- 
bane Jain Dubh na rionnaig " Black John of the Star," 
was his chief patron, and he had a good many other friends, 
but as the issue was doubtful, he and other candidates 
entered into the following strange agreement : 

tfh March, 1766. 

" Proposals for preventing any struggle among the friends of Captain 
Campbell, Captain Stewart, and James and Patrick Murray, three 
candidates for being chosen Collector of the Supply, in the County of 
Perth, at next annual election. 

"That the friends of these three parties unite their interest in the 
choice of Captain Campbell as collector. 

" That the captain have the right of exaction as to the cess, so of the 
whole salaries, fees, and perquisites thereto belonging. 

"That during his continuance in office he give security to Captain 
Stewart, annually, for ^65 sterling. 


lying in Major Campbell's hands in Sterling at the Exchange, current 
in Quebec at the time that money was deposited, said rate to be as- 
certained by two paymasters of regiments, or two merchants at the 
option of the parties. 

the collector of his salary establisht, or to be establisht, by the county 
to the said James Murray as Clerk of Supply. 

(Signed), (Signed), 




" JOHN MACKENZIE, witness. 

The Black Colonel, after twenty years' absence on active 
service, paid a visit to his property and people in 1769. 
The following letter to "Captain Archibald Campbell, 
Brother Germain to Glenlyon," from the Laird of Macnab, 
fixes the date of his home-coming : 

" DEAR SIR, This moment I was favoured wt yours, and the verry 
agreeable news to me of Glenlyon's safe arivall in good health, which 
I wish he long enjoy. The gardner here has engaged with me thir 
three ensueing years ; and if he had not I would have recommended 
him sooner than any of his business I ever saw in this pairish. Fran 
and his brother went this morning for Stirling mercat. The young 
terriers are sent, and as good in kynd as ever I saw. How soon the 
lads return I shall have the pleasure of waiting on Glenlyon, and 
family ; to whom my wife with me joyne in compliments, and to the 
good old and young ladies, not forgetting Captain Archd. 

I ever am, 

Dear Sir, 
Your affectionate cusine and humble servant, 

KINNELL, 30th October, 1769." 


The " Fran " of the letter was Francis the heir of Macnab. 
He was the last chief of his clan that possessed the paternal 
acres, and a strange character he was. The reference to 
old as well as young ladies, shows that the Black Colonel 
had the pleasure of finding his mother with whom he was 
always in closer sympathy than he ever had been with his 
father alive on his return. She died either that or next 

Soon after the coming home of the Coirneal Dubh, he 
and his brother the captain went out to shoot hares, 
patridges, and whatever else they could find in the Cuil 
Wood, which was then more extensive than it is now. They 
were attended by their dependent, John Campbell, whose 
son, an old veteran of Abercromby's expedition to Egypt, 
told me the story. It happened that the captain fired at a 
hare while his brother stood in the line of his fire. The 
horrified attendant shouted, " You have shot your brother," 
and both he and the captain rushed to the colonel, who, 
showing them his cloak riddled with shot, said to his 
brother : " Don't be afraid. I am not touched. The curse 
of Glencoe is a spell upon me. I have been in mortal strife 
many a time, and remained untouched by ball or steel while 
friends and foes were falling round me. I must drie my 

The colonel did not remain long at home. The services 
of officers of his experience and proved capacity were in 
high demand ; for the first upheaval of the American revolt 
had taken place, and war was immediately expected. So 
he went back to his marines, taking a few volunteers, who 
would not be denied, with him. During the next two years 
he and his marines went here and there, wherever they were 


told to go, and did as well as they could whatever they were 
told to do. At the end of that time occurred the incident 
which General Stewart relates as follows, and quite accur- 
ately too, with this exception that he forgets to mention 
it was the colonel himself who by extreme efforts had 
obtained the man's reprieve : 

" In 1771, Colonel Campbell was ordered to superintend the execu- 
tion of the sentence of a court-martial on a soldier of marines con- 
demned to be shot. A reprieve was sent, but the whole ceremony of 
the execution was to proceed until the criminal was upon his knees, 
with a cap over his eyes, prepared to receive this volley. It was then 
he was to be informed of his pardon. No person was to be told 
previously, and Colonel Campbell was directed not to inform even the 
firing party, who were warned that the signal to fire would be the 
waving of a white handkerchief by the commanding officer. When all 
was prepared, and the clergyman had left the prisoner on his knees, 
in momentary expectation of his fate, and the firing party were looking 
with intense attention for the signal, Colonel Campbell put his hand in 
his pocket for the reprieve, and in pulling out the packet, the white 
handkerchief accompanied it, and catching the eyes of the party, they 
fired, and the unfortunate prisoner was shot dead. The paper dropped 
through Colonel Campbell's fingers, and, clapping his hand to his fore- 
head, he exclaimed, ' The curse of God and of Glencoe is here : I am 
a ruined man.' He desired the soldiers to be sent to the barracks, 
instantly quitted the parade, and soon afterwards retired from the 
service. This retirement was not the result of any reflections or re- 
primand on account of this unfortunate affair, as it was known to be 
entirely accidental. The impression on his mind, however, was never 


THE influence of friends, and the remonstrances of 
those who were then at the head of the War De- 
partment, and who wished, with the American war loom- 
ing in the near distance, to retain him in the service, failed 
to alter the Coirneal Dubh's determination to retire as 
soon as possible after the tragical death of the reprieved 
marine. He returned to his home at the beginning of May, 
1772, and on the 3Oth of that month, gave his brother, 
the captain, a discharge on settled accounts for intro- 
missions as his factor, during the four years from Martin- 
mas 1767, to the end of 1770. It appears from this ac- 
count, that besides having paid to them the small sums 
due from their father's nearly bankrupt estate, the colonel 
had, as soon as he could, settled, most generously, liberal 
annuities on his three unmarried sisters. His old nurse, 
also, figures in the account for house rent and aliment, and 
other old dependents of the family and needy relations 
participated in his generosity. After his return he in- 
creased his benefactions. Very little of his rent ever went 
into his own pocket. His half-pay, prize money, and 
savings, however, brought him in more income than he 
required ; and so in course of years he grew rich without 
an effort. He was abstemious and simple in his habits, 


and kept very little company, although those who visited 
him were treated with Highland hospitality. Towards the 
local gentry he had a stand-off air which made him more 
respected than popular among people of his own class. 
The Earl of Breadalbane, and Mr. Duncan Macara, the 
minister of Fortingall, were, outside his own family, his 
only intimate friends. He became much interested in the 
minister's son and only child, David Macara, who died 
forty years later at Quatre Bras, at the head of the Black 
Watch, a colonel in the army and a Knight Commander of 
the Bath. David Macara, however, had no intention of 
becoming a soldier, when his youthful dreams of ambition 
and abundant hopefulness amused and cheered the Black 
Colonel. He studied medicine, and served long as a 
doctor in the East Indian Company's service, before he took 
up the sword. Angus Robertson, from Chesthill, the lad 
he selected for his gillie when he entered the company's 
service, went seven times with him to the East Indies. 
Dr. Macara caught the infection of the national fighting 
spirit at the outbreak of the great war with France, and 
having saved a good deal of money, and seen, also, a good 
deal of fighting, he had no difficulty in changing his pro- 
fession, and in getting on in the army with more rapidity 
than younger men, with smaller means, and less ability. 

Captain Archibald left the shelter of the family roof in 
1770, on being appointed, by the Earl of Breadalbane, 
chamberlain of his Lome property. Henceforward, until 
his death, the captain resided at Ardmady Castle, and his 
sister Mary, or Molly, kept house for him. He became 
very popular with both the gentry and common people in 
Argyleshire. Thirty years ago his memory was still green 


among the tenantry of the Breadalbane estate in Lome. 
Their highest idea of " the good old times " was derived 
almost solely, from the period of Caiptein Ruadh Glilean- 
nliomhunris chamberlainship. They had many stories 
about his official goodness and personal liberality. One of 
these stories told how he punished a miserly man who 
tried to take his brother's farm underhand. Here it is : 
Two brothers lived side by side on farms of unequal value, 
although they were let at the same rents. Both brothers 
were married. The elder brother, who had the better farm, 
was without children. The younger brother, with the 
worse farm, had many children too young yet to help him. 
It was a struggle to him, therefore, to pay his rent and 
maintain his family ; and in a bad year he fell behind in 
his accounting with the chamberlain. Now his miserly 
elder brother, knowing this, went to the Caiptein Ruadh 
and offered to take his brother's farm at the old rent, and 
pay, too, his brother's arrears. And the Caiptein Ruadk 
let him have the farm on the said terms. Now when the 
struggling brother heard of the affair, he was in a great 
strait, and sore perplexed; but his wife said to him "Take 
heart and go to the Caiptein Ruadli yourself. He is a just 
man, and he will not see honest hard-working people 
ruined." And the man went and asked the Caiptein if he 
had really given his farm to his unkind brother ? The 
Caiptein laughed merrily and said : " Yes, indeed, your 
brother has got your farm and paid your arrears ; but he 
forgot to take his own farm at the same time. So if you 
wish to have his farm, you can have it." And so it was 
settled. The bad brother was punished as he deserved, 
and the struggling brother prospered ever afterwards. 


Notwithstanding his sociality and generous disposition, the 
captain was a money-making and hard-working man, who 
liked to keep accounts and everything else very straight. 
He lent out his savings to needy land owners on heritable 
security, and exacted good regular interest. He and his 
sister entertained Pennant during his tour in the Hebrides, 
and were vastly pleased with him. He was probably an 
old friend of their brother, the colonel ; for on the colonel's 
coming to Glenlyon House in 1769, he was immediately 
visited by Pennant, who was on his first tour, and at the 
time Lord Breadalbane's guest at Taymouth. The colonel 
showed his visitor the ancient Glenlyon brooch, which he 
pictured for his book, and the sword-stick of Donnachadh 
Ruadh Mac Cailein. In 1772, the Earl of Breadalbane 
specially asked his chamberlain in Lome to organise Pen- 
nant's tour that is, to find gillies, horses, and boats, for 
him ; and the captain carried out his instructions with 
pleasure. He was not a bad antiquary of the Highland 
traditional class himself, and Pennant got much informa- 
tion both from him and his brother the Black Colonel. 

In his letters to his brother in Jamaica, the captain, ever 
since his return from Canada, had been constantly harping 
on the matrimonial string. He hoped for a long time that 
his brother, the Black Colonel, would marry ; and he 
always assumed that only one of the three brothers 
ought to marry. The reason for this limitation to one 
marriage was that from their early days the brothers were 
determined to work in common for the rehabilitation of the 
family position, and the recovery of the lands lost through 
the extravagance or misfortunes of their grandfather. 
When the colonel came home to settle down for good in 


1772, the captain saw at once that there was no hope of 
his ever marrying. He therefore wrote to Dr. David 
urging him, as the next brother, to choose a wife. Philo- 
sopher David, who was fifty years old, pooh-poohed the 
proposal of matrimony in his own person, but advised the 
captain himself, who was a good deal younger, to look out 
for a wife. The captain, apparently after a family consul- 
tation at home, sent word to Jamaica that he was deter- 
mined to marry as soon as ever he met " a lassie he liked, 
and whom he could get to like him in return." But 
although he was rather an eligible parti, and was ac- 
quainted with all the landed families of the Highlands of 
Perthshire, and most of Argyleshire, time passed on with- 
out seeing him married. Still he had the idea in his mind 
to the end of his life. Here is one of his later letters " To 
Doctor David Campbell, at Watermount, St. John's, near 
Spanish Town, Jamaica : 

" ARDMADY, 28M May, 1778. 


I wrote you last harvest by London, and soon after 
by the Clyde, and this spring I wrote you two letters in the same way. 
My letters to London were sent there under cover to Mrs. Campbell 
Carwhin, who wrote me both times that she forwarded them by the 
Jamaica Pacquet. Last night I was informed that Captain Neil 
Campbell was soon to go out in a Letter of Marque of 20 guns, which 
induces me to write by him, as 1 hope he will get through safe from 
American Privateers. I must fear, from the number of ships taken to 
and from your island, that but few of my letters get your length, which 
makes me take all opportunities to write you. I wrote you in most of 
my letters concerning the money you remitted home ; that the bill 
came safe and was duly paid ; that I had paid our nephew, Harry 
Balneavis, the ^200 on his account, and sent to John, Ann, and Eliza- 
beth Campbell of Stirling. John came, but brought no power from 


his sisters, or any discharge. I told him I lodged the 100 in the 
Perth Bank, and should pay it to them when they brought me a 
proper discharge. But considering his character (which is none of 
the best), and that you wrote me you were to draw upon me in their 
favour, when I would have time to negotiate the bill, I was advised to 
let the money lie on their account in bank till we heard again from 
you, and there it still remains. If you do not draw on me, in their 
favour, it will be necessary you let me or them know from whom the 
money comes through your hands to them, that by this they may be 
enabled to give a proper discharge. 

" I was glad to see by your last, which I received about a twelvemonth 
ago, that David Balneavis was like to do better. I wish he may. I 
formerly wrote you, in all my letters, that I got Archy Balneavis a 
lieutenancy in General Eraser's Highlanders. He was unlucky enough 
to be taken prisoner, along with Colonel Archibald Campbell, in Boston 
Bay, and was a prisoner till January last, when he and others got to 
New York on parole. According to the last accounts from that quarter 
he was there ; but it was thought they would be obliged to return again 
to their former bondage, as General Howe did not wish them to be 
absent from the men, till they were exchanged ; but it was hoped a general 
cartell would take place and that all of them would be exchanged. I 
wish it may be so on all their accounts. 

"All other friends are well your brother John, Kitty and Janey at 
Fortingall, as usual, and Molly here with me ; no matrimonial change 
has yet taken place in the family. I wrote you last harvest, and in all 
my letters since, that Mr. Menzies of Culdares was dead, and had left 
but one daughter by which the estate of Glenlyon comes to be divided 
betwixt his daughter and the heir of entail ; the daughter's part being 
the lower end of Glenlyon, near the one half, must be sold to pay his, 
Culdare's, personal debt ; and as Stewart of Cairnies, who succeeds, is 
the last in the entail, and a light horseman, it is believed he can and 
will sell what remains. My brother and I will go all the length our 
purse or credit can go, to get the ancient inheritance again. But it 
will throw us greatly in debt to purchase the daughter's part of the 
estate. I wish you were at home, to join stocks in the common 
interest ; and laying that aside, considering the drumly situation we 
are in with America (which if we lose we fear our West Indian Islands 
will follow), I most sincerely wish you out of it. 

"Notwithstanding my often desiring it, you never let me know what I 


can send you from Scotland that will be of use to you in Jamaica. I 
once more beg you'll but only mention it. I can assure you it would 
be a pleasure to me, or your sister, to send it. And from here we 
have, every month, opportunities to Greenock. If eatables in these 
scarce times that will carry salmon or herrings, &c. if linen or 
checks for coarse clothes for your slaves ; I beg you'll inform me. I 
live here very comfortable in the midst of plenty, and you making hard 
fare of it makes my morsels sometimes go down with a worse relish. 

" We have been all this year plagued, raising men for home and 
foreign service. God grant a speedy end to these troubles. Your 
sister joins me in love and affection to you, and in best compliments 
to David Balneavis, cousin John, and Colin Ardincaple, who, I hope, 
is doing well. I send enclosed a letter from his mother. When you 
write, please mention them all, and how they are. Mr. Archy 
Campbell's brothers and father are well. Believe me always, my dear 

Your Affectionate Brother, 


As regards the 100 sent to the Campbells at Stirling, 
Dr. David in this, as in several other cases, acted as unpaid 
broker or friend at need to humble Highlanders in 
Jamaica who wished to send home money to their relations. 

Two years after sending the preceding letter to Dr. 
David, the captain's Quebec wound, which had never 
perfectly healed, broke out again, and he died rather 
suddenly, but not before he had settled his affairs, at the 
age of 51. To Dr. David he left, above his equal share, the 
" Feu of Coupar," for which he claimed to be enrolled on 
the list of freeholders of Perthshire in 1776. Although a 
peculiar one, this Feu of Cupar was a real and valuable 
property, and not one of the sham qualifications by which 
Parliamentary election votes were often created, up to the 
passing of the first Reform Bill. He left, in all, about 


^"5,000 sterling, which was considered a gentlemanly fortune 
at that time. Had he lived a very little longer he would 
have received a large legacy from his employer and fast 
friend, John, Earl of Breadalbane, the last of the first earl's 
stock, who died in 1782. 

The captain's funeral cost 145 i6s. pd., which was a 
tremendous sum for that age : but the funeral itself was so 
extraordinary, that for a generation or two it formed a fixed 
date from which the lapse of time was calculated. The 
gentry of Argyle and the tenants of Lome carried the 
coffin, Highland fashion that is, shoulder high towards 
the Perthshire march. They were reinforced by the men 
of Glenorchy before reaching the border ; and on Drumalban 
they were met by the men of Glenlyon and Breadalbane. 
Thence they marched, such a funeral host as had been rarely 
seen, to the family burying place at Fortingall, where he 
was laid beside his Jacobite father. 

The death of the ever-joyous, ever-hopeful captain was 
a great blow to his brothers and sisters. Dr. David, writing 
from Jamaica on receipt of the sad news, lost his customary 
calmness, and mourned like David over Jonathan. Miss 
Mary, it was said, never again held up her head. But the 
melancholy Black Colonel, who kept his grief to himself, 
except when he let Mr. Macara get glimpses of his inner 
being, was probably the most grieved of all. He was build- 
ing his hopes on his youngest brother when taking steps to 
avail himself of any opportunity that might offer to buy 
back a portion, or the whole, of his family's "ancient 
inheritance." He had seemingly resolved, when still quite 
a young man, that the cross of the " Curse of Glencoe," 
which was such a burden to himself should never be trans- 


milled to a son of his. But Archie Roy laughed at his 
fancies, and enjoyed life in spite of fate : so the colonel 
thought that if Archie Roy married and had children, the 
curse would not touch him nor his posterity. At this time 
he had three nephews, sons of his eldest sister and her 
husband, Balneaves of Edradour. Harry Balneaves, the 
eldest of the three, is the person mentioned in the captain's 
letter, to whom his uncle, Dr. David, had sent 200. 
Archibald, the lieutenant, who soon afterwards returned 
-from America with the rank of captain, was the second 
nephew. The third was David Balneaves, an unsteady 
character, who was sent out to his uncle in Jamaica, and 
became a planter. David was rather prosperous as a 
planter ; but he would not keep from drink, and the climate 
killed him before his doctor uncle left the island. These 
Balneaves brothers had one sister, Catherine, who married 
Mr. Peter Garden of Delgaty. 

There was not much prospect that the Campbells of 
Glenlyon should be perpetuated, in the male line and main 
stem, after the death of the Captain Roy ; but prospect or 
no prospect, the Black Colonel pertinaciously adhered to 
the purpose of buying back what he could of the " ancient 
inheritance," whenever the opportunity presented itself. 
The " light horseman " who succeeded to the Meggernie 
estate was not able, although perfectly willing, to sell. The 
entail held good when put to the test ; but the Chesthill 
estate was so drowned in debt that it was sure, sooner 
or later, to come into the market. The Black Colonel lay 
in wait for it with his money at command. But death pre- 
vented him from effecting his purpose. He died in 1784, 
at the age of 69, before the Chesthill estate was sold. 


THE Black Colonel, before his death, entailed the 
estate. He also by a deed, dated 4th April, 1781 
appointed his brother and heir Dr. David Campbell, his 
nephew Henry Balneaves of Edradour, his cousin David 
Smyth of Methven, John Campbell of Achalader, John 
Campbell, younger of Achalader, William Campbell of 
Duneaves, and John Campbell Writer to the Signet, son of 
" John Campbell of the Bank," whom the Highlanders dis- 
tinguished from the father by calling him " Iain Oig a 
Bhainc " his disposers in trust, for investing his money 
in the purchase of property, adjacent to or conveniently 
near his entailed estate. Old John Campbell of Achalader, 
for fifty years or more chamberlain of Breadalbane, died 
before himself; and soon after the colonel's death, William 
Campbell sold the estate of Duneaves, which had been in 
his family for four generations, to Mr. Alexander Menzies, 
one of the principal clerks of the court of Session, who 
afterwards bought the estate of Chesthill. 

When Dr. David, whom the people of his native district 
called an Doctair Mor, or the Big Doctor, came home from 
Jamaica, he found his nephew, Captain Archibald Balneaves, 
acting as factor for the trustees ; but he immediately took 
the local management of affairs into his own hands, and 
appointed Iain Oig a Bhainc his Edinburgh man of 


business. Mr. Archibald Campbell of Easdale continued, 
for many years, to uplift the interest on the captain's money, 
laid out on heritable security, in Argyleshire. Dr. David 
did not care so much as his two brothers had cared about 
recovering the " ancient inheritance," either in whole or in 
part. Instead of losing his Gaelic during his thirty years' 
residence in Jamaica, he came back a far better Gaelic 
scholar than he was when he left. All Gaelic books pub- 
lished in the interval had been sent out to him, as well as 
all the new medical works of the same period, and he had 
keenly studied both. But he did not believe, like his 
brothers, in Macpherson's Ossian, although he believed in 
Ossian. I am not sure whether or not the judicial sale of 
the Chesthill estate had taken place before his arrival : but 
it appears that in 1785, soon after his return, Mr. Alexander 
Menzies would have resold it to him, had he wished to 
purchase. In matters which had been fixed by the colonel's 
trust he allowed the dead hand to rule ; but as far as he 
was left free he did not bother himself about purchasing 
land. He was almost as temperate and it was a hard 
drinking age as his brother the colonel, but he made up 
for that by being a great smoker, and a social, hospitable, 
old gentleman. True enough, he was rather a puzzle to the 
neighbouring lairds, for he was a keen student of natural 
history and physical science then in its infancy and had 
resources of enjoyment within himself to which most of 
them were strangers. He became the unpaid doctor of the 
poor and in cases of an exceptional difficulty, of the rich 
over a large district. He was much interested in farming 
improvements and stock-breeding ; but his farm manager 
and shepherd maintained that on these subjects he had 


more theories than true knowledge. He was not ambitious 
of playing a prominent part in parish or county business 
On the contrary, he declined, with thanks, the offer of the 
Duke of Athole to appoint him a Deputy-Lieutenant, until, 
in 1794, affairs grew so serious at home and abroad, that as 
a good patriot he could no longer refuse. " John of the 
Star," the old Earl of Breadalbane, was dead, before he 
came back from Jamaica ; and his own near relation, John 
of Carwhin, grandson of his aunt, Janet of Glenlyon, reigned 
at Taymouth. It was well for the young man that he had' 
close at hand, such a wise adviser and hearty friend as the 
Big Doctor. It was well also for the Breadalbane tenantry 
and they knew it too. Under the Big Doctor's tuition and 
moulding influence, John, the 4th Earl and first Marquis of 
Breadalbane, became the kindest and best beloved landlord 
his wide domains ever knew. His only error and it was 
a well meaning and kindly one was that he divided many 
farms which were not large enough to bear sub-division 
without leading to overpopulation and pauperism in order 
to give rooms to men who served in his Fencible Regi- 

The Big Doctor advocated emigration against the spirit 
of the time among men of his class ; but he wanted also to 
keep the glens, dales, and straths at home as fully peopled 
as they could bear. He foresaw and rather dreaded the 
growth of towns. He was ready to argue on all questions, 
except party politics for which he had no liking. He came 
back from Jamaica in excellent health and spirits, and for 
many years enjoyed the Highland winters instead of 
suffering from them. It was one of his peculiarities that 
out of doors he always wore a cloak reaching nearly to his 


heels a light one in summer, and a heavy " clo " or felted 
one in winter. Between gratis doctoring 1 , reading books, 
botanising, carrying on a big correspondence with the 
Chief Justice of Jamaica Mr. Grant of Kilgraston as 
well as with other friends in that island, superintending his 
farm and estate, and discussing with the philosophers and 
politicians he met at Taymouth, time did not hang heavy 
on his hands. He was a most popular and beloved land- 
lord ; but all his tenants knew that while he let them have 
their holdings on easy terms, they must all punctually pay 
their rents in money, butter, straw, flax, eggs, and poultry, 
as agreed upon ; or else be well reprimanded. It was con- 
sidered a heinous crime to give the Big Doctor a real 
cause of offence, or to fail in duty towards him ; although, 
as far as a bit of chaffing scolding from him was concerned, 
they rather courted than evaded that. 

Dr. David had not made much money in Jamaica ; for 
all he brought back with him of his own saving scarcely 
exceeded 2,000. Miss Kitty used to tease him about his 
want of success ; but he encouraged his sisters to tease him 
as much as they liked. Soon after his return his shepherd 
lad when an old man told me the story a young M 'Gregor 
who was about to emigrate to the West Indies, called on 
him to bid farewell, and receive some letters of introduction. 
This emigrating young man was the son of Gregor the 
Handsome Griogair Boidheach a once celebrated soldier 
of the Black Watch. He was, therefore, either the uncle or 
father I think the father of Sir Gregor who married 
Bolivar's sister and, in George the Fourth's reign, figured in 
London as Prince of Poyais. "What makes you," asked 
Miss Kitty, of M'Gregor, " wish to leave your native land?" 


" I wish," he replied," to go to make my fortune." " And 
do you think," said she, "that any one who goes to the 
West Indies can make a fortune if he tries his best ? " " Yes, 
indeed," replied the confident fortune-seeker. The conver- 
sation was in Gaelic, and at this part of it Miss Kitty 
laughingly pointed to her brother and said : " Mo thruaighe* 
'n duine bochd so, mata. Bha e deich bliadhna fichead an 
Jamaica, s cha d'rinn e moran beartais." " Pity this poor 
man here, then ; for he was thirty years in Jamaica and 
made little profit of it." The unruffled Laird laughed back 
and said : " Mar d'rinn mi beartas an Jamaica, fhuair mi 
taigh Ian dar thainig mi dhachaigh. Agus is e comhnadh 
dhaoin eile, agus gu'm bu docha learn ceartas is onoir na 
beartas agus or, a chum cho bochd mi." " If I made no 
wealth in Jamaica, I found a full house on coming home 
And it was helping others, and that I preferred justice and 
honour to wealth and gold which kept me so poor." 

The Black Colonel, by lending the minister of Fortingall 
110 for his son's education, opened for Sir David Macara 
the door of his noble career. He aided others as well as 
his clachan favourite by money and influence. Dr. David 
followed the same plan of aiding those who had talent, once 
they got a start, for aiding themselves, and reflecting credit 
on their friends. Young men in search of their fortunes 
from his father's estate and native parish began to follow 
him to Jamaica soon after he established himself there. 
He became, in course of time, a sort of Gaelic chief sur- 
rounded by a following of his own in that island. He gave 
his help and advice to many more who emigrated to the 
West Indies after his return ; and in truth, a connection of 
rather a close kind between Jamaica and Fortingall con- 


tinued fifty years after his death, and has scarcely terminated 
yet. Although not at all so much influenced by Highland 
sentiments as the colonel and captain were in their day, a 
good deal of clannishness stuck to the Big Doctor to the 
end. He looked upon the then landless William Campbell 
of Duneaves, and not upon his own sisters' son, as, after 
himself, the true representative of the Campbells of Glen- 
lyon ; and it was supposed that, had not the colonel's entail 
interfered, he would have preferred to leave the property to 
this Campbell male heir, so as to keep up the old name. 
Be that as it may, he helped with might and main the 
brothers Archibald and Duncan, sons of Captain Campbell, 
at one time factor for the commissioners for the forfeited 
estates on the Struan property in Rannoch, to get proper 
education and afterwards commissions in the army. The 
father of these lads was the son of Duncan Campbell, 
tenant of Milton Eonan, who was a younger son of John 
Campbell of Duneaves. Archibald, the elder of the two, 
became a general in the army, the conqueror of Ava, and a 
baronet of the united kingdom. He bought the Garth 
estate from General Stewart's heirs, but he subsequently 
resold it. Duncan, who was paymaster of his regiment, 
retired with the rank of captain, and died unmarried at 

The trial of Meria and others at Edinburgh in 1793, for 
spreading the works of Tom Paine, and organising sedition, 
and the vapourings of the Convention of the Friends of the 
People, which was held in the Scottish capital that year, as 
well as the atrocities which were being perpetrated in France, 
and the ill success with which the allies carried on the war, 
produced so much alarm and anger, too, throughout these 


islands, that peaceful men like the Laird of Glenlyon left 
their avocations and seclusions to serve their country in 
one way or another. The Laird, in 1794, accepted the 
office of Deputy-Lieutenant, which he formerly declined. 
Here is one of his letters to the Duke of Athole reporting 
defensive progress : 


Your Lordship will please receive, herewith, lists of the 
subscribers in the several districts of the parish of Kenmore, and de- 
tached parts of the parishes of Dull and Weem, being within the 
division allotted for me as one of your Grace's Deputy-Lieutenants ; 
amounting to 126 well-affected men. From these I have selected, as 
per separate list, 30 men, who, in my opinion, are proper men to be ap- 
pointed as extraordinary peace-officers, and to have batons. Your 
Grace will, perhaps, think these too many. In that event the number 
may be reduced to 17 only. But considering the local situation of the 
districts, their extent and distances from each other, I think there can 
be no less than two extraordinary peace-officers in every district, ex- 
cept Roro. The districts in which three are stated are as large and 
populous as two of the others, and there are in each sufficient men to 
attend as assistants or ordinary constables, if it shall happen that they 
shall be called to attend on any occasion ; which, indeed, the estab- 
lishment of such a system is calculated to render more improbable. 
From my own knowledge of the inhabitants, I have no doubt of their 
loyalty to the king and constitution. There are few families, over all 
the country, who have not either sons or grandsons in Lord Breadal- 
bane's Fencibles and other corps ; and on that account, and other- 
wise, they are all well-affected to King and Government, and avowed 
enemies to the French. I have kept a list of the subscribers, and 
when your Grace will say and fix as to the number of extraordinary 
peace-officers, I shall name and appoint their assistants, and authorise 
the peace-officers to call them out, if necessary. But I am not, in the 
least, apprehensive of any trouble, as we have no seditious or dis- 
affected people amongst us. 

" There are held at the village of Killin six public fairs yearly, and as 
many in the village of Kenmore. These fairs are guarded, at Lord 


Breadalbane's expense, by twenty-four well-affected men, and an officer 
in each place, who, with halberts, patrol twice every fair day to keep 
peace and good order, &c. These we can call to our assistance if any 
riots or tumults should occur ; but I am not apprehensive of any such 

" Your Grace's further commands shall be duly attended to. And I 
am, with great respect and esteem, 

" My Lord, 
44 Your Grace's Most Obedient and Most Humble Servant, 

" GLENLYON HOUSE, tyh Oct., 1794." 

Although the Highlanders of Perthshire were avowed 
enemies to the French, and loyal to the king and constitu- 
tion, they intensely disliked military conscription, while 
ready enough to volunteer into army, militia, and fencibles 
to any extent. I am not very sure as to the year in which 
the Session Books Riot occurred at Fortingall ; but I think 
it must have been in 1793, when the supplementary militia 
was first raised. If that was the date, the Doctair Mor had 
a special cause for emphatically testifying to the loyalty of 
the people of his district, and to vouch for it that there was 
no cause for fearing further riots. The Session Books Riot 
was almost exclusively a foolish ebullition of enraged alarm 
on the part of ignorant mothers who feared all their sons 
would be taken from them, and thought they could save 
them by destroying the books in which their ages were 
recorded. Peter Macnaughton, better known as Para 
Muileir^ was almost the only Glenlyon man who joined in 
the affair. He brought with him down to Fortingall a 
score of angry women. A dozen of old men came from 
Rannoch at the head of a large company of women ; and a 


detachment of Bolfracks rioters, mostly women also, joined 
the other two bodies. The object was simply to go to 
Thomas Butter, the schoolmaster and session clerk, and 
take the books from him. The Fortingall people themselves 
had no hand in the affair. Mr. William Stewart, younger, 
of Garth, having received an hour's warning of what was 
coming, hastened to Fortingall, got the books from Butten 
and went off with them to Glenlyon House. The rioters 
were close on his heels. Butter told them he had given up 
the books to the magistrates, and that they were then at 
Glenlyon House. " And what right have the magistrates 
to the kirk books, and what right had you to give them 
up ? " shouted the rioters. Then others cried out " He 
must come with us and demand them back." That pro- 
posal was received with acclaim. Butter, who was lame, 
said he could not go unless he got a horse. Unfortunately 
for him, the rioters finding a cabar which suited their pur- 
pose, made him ride the stang, saying jeeringly, " What a 
good horse what a prancing steed ? Take care he does 
not throw you over Alt-Odhair Bridge." The poor man 
was nearly frightened to death, and keeping him still on 
his cabar, they made him, when they reached Glenlyon 
House, ask re-delivery of his books, and he did ask it for 
mercy's sake before they would kill him. The rioters 
would not listen to reason, and Mr. William of Garth, 
holding up the books in his hands, before them all, dared 
them to take them. A virago from Rannoch immediately 
threw a plaid over his head, and the books disappeared 
the one to be found damaged by weather in a bush in the 
glebe some months afterwards, and the other never to be 
recovered. Of course the many women and few men who 


took part in this riot were thoroughly ashamed of them- 
selves, as soon as they understood that militia lists could 
be made up without the parish registers. 

Up to the end of 1800, the old Laird, thanks to his 
vigorous constitution and healthy habits, wonderfully re- 
sisted the ravages of time, and actively attended to his 
public and private duties. The hard winter of 1804 told 
upon him severely. It killed his sister, Miss Kitty, Miss 
Mary being dead long before. Miss Kitty, as long as she 
lived, never allowed her brother to mope from want of 
mental exercise and the use of his tongue. After her death 
his life and house were not so cheerful as they used to be. 
He gave up his active life by degrees, feeling stiff and 
weakened in body, but strong and clear in mind almost to 
the last. 

He died in 1806, at the advanced age of 85. 

As the old Laird outlived his Balneaves nephews, who 
left no legitimate issue, his grandnephew, Francis Garden, 
son of Peter Garden of Delgaty afterwards of Troup 
and of his niece, Catherine Balneaves, became his heir. 
Francis Garden, who, on succeeding his granduncle, as- 
sumed the additional surname and arms of Campbell, was 
succeeded by his son Francis, who died in 1826. This 
second Francis was succeeded by a son of the same name, 
who died in 1848. He was succeeded by his only son the 
fourth Francis Garden Campbell of Troup and Glenlyon, 
who sold his Glenlyon property to Sir Donald Currie in 


ON the 26th May, 1885, the tenantry of Glenlyon 
estate met together at the old mansion house to 
present an address of welcome to the new Laird on his enter- 
ing into possession of the property. Shortly before two 
o'clock the tenants assembled in large numbers from the 
Glenlyon estate, from Garth, and from Breadalbane, and a 
most hearty welcome was accorded to Sir Donald Currie 
and Lady Currie when they entered the grounds. 

Mr. Donald M'Dougall, Drumchary, in the name of the 
tenantry, presented the following address, remarking in 
the course of his speech that the two estates of Garth and 
Glenlyon being now united the Laird could say 'S learn 
fhein an gleann, 's learn fhein na ttiann the glen's my own 
and all that's in it : 


We. the tenants of your newly acquired estate of Glenlyon, beg to 
offer you our most hearty welcome on the occasion of your first visit to 
us as our landlord, and to congratulate you on the possession of so 
beautiful, compact, and historical a property as the combined estates 
of Garth and Glenlyon. Our knowledge of, and acquaintance with 
you hitherto, as our neighbouring proprietor, and the great interest 
you have always taken in everything which tends to the good of the 
whole community of the district, give us such confidence in you that 
we are both proud and happy in having you as our landlord. We feel 
that you will be a worthy successor to our late esteemed laird, and 



that you will always have the greatest pleasure in seeing us prosperous 
and contented under you. We shall endeavour to do our duty towards 
you as our landlord, conscientiously and heartily, and will, as far as 
lies in our power, try to increase your enjoyment in your estate and 
people. We wish you, sir, and your family, long life and happiness to 
enjoy your fine Highland estate. 

26th May, 1885. 

After the presentation, speeches were also made by Mr 
Archibald M'Gregor, tenant of the Glenlyon Home Farm, 
and by Mr. Peter Haggart of Keltnie Burn as representing 
the Garth tenants. 

Sir Donald Currie, in acknowledging the address, said : 
My good friends, I thank you cordially for your hearty 
welcome, and for your good wishes in connection with my 
possession of the estate of Glenlyon. It gives me great 
pleasure to acknowledge your warm expression of confi- 
dence, and your assurance that you will do what may lie 
in your power to add to my happiness amongst you. Let 
me assure you that one inducement to join Glenlyon with 
Garth was the desire of myself and my family to help for- 
ward your prosperity. There is certainly the satisfaction of 
creating a more compact property by the union of the two 
estates; but at this moment, from a financial point of view, 
there is not much encouragement to invest money in land. 
We stand here upon historic ground. In olden times this 
part of the Highlands was the scene of many fierce and 
sanguinary struggles, the people suffering terribly. Times 
are, however, changed. We are no longer exposed to the 
risks of former days, or forced to depend upon feudal ties. 
Happily, we are free from clan strife and the violence of 
authority. As I have often said publicly, the tenant farmers 


of the country are entitled to have a business-like connec- 
tion with their proprietors. On the other hand, the land- 
lords may fairly claim to have their rights considered from 
a business point of view. You have alluded to my course 
of action since Garth came into my hands, and I am grate- 
ful to you for the expression of your confidence that I will 
act justly to my new tenantry. Unfortunately, the relations 
between landlord and tenant in Scotland, as in England 
and Ireland, have been such as to call for the intervention 
of Parliament. I have no intention to introduce politics, 
but in view of your position as tenant farmers, and as you 
have referred to past legislation, I may remark that we 
have yet to dispose of some questions connected with land 
tenure in consequence of the changed condition of agricul- 
tural affairs. It is quite true, as has been said, that the 
alteration of the Law of Entail has enabled the late 
proprieter to dispose of Glenlyon as he desired to do. 
For my part, I am now experiencing the effects of the 
Agricultural Holdings Act, by the necessary and proper 
settlement of the compensation for unexhausted improve- 
ments claimed by the outgoing tenant of the Home 
Farm. The abolition of Hypothec takes away from me 
and from other landlords and I am glad of it any 
chance of dealing in that direction harshly as a pro- 
prietor ; and in a district where it is easy to raise a 
crop of hares and rabbits, I daresay there is no small 
satisfaction among you that you now enjoy the advantages 
of the Ground Game Act for which I voted in Parlia- 
ment. You may remember that on the day of the 
address being presented to me by the tenants of Garth, 
at the time I purchased that property, the tenants were 


told that they were free to enjoy the privileges of the 
Act then passed into law, during the currency of their 
existing leases ; and on that occasion I was glad to 
be able to accord the same privileges to the farmers 
at Cluny, in Strathtay, where I had a lease as shooting 
tenant for 8 or 10 years to come. Your future material 
and moral prosperity will not depend upon legislation so 
much as upon yourselves ; but I may indicate to you how 
agricultural interests may yet be dealt with in such a way 
as to secure your interests and my own as tenants and 
proprietor. We may hope ere long to obtain a simplifica- 
tion of the system of transfer of property ; the total aboli- 
tion of the remnant of hypothec ; some modification of the 
scope of the Ground Game Act ; and amendments in the 
Agricultural Holdings Act, now that we know the points 
on which that Act is not sufficiently explicit or comprehen- 
sive. Hitherto it has been the boast of Scottish farmers that 
they do not require, as in Ireland, an appeal to a Land 
Court for the fixing of rent or adjustment of difficulties be- 
tween them and their landlords. In my humble judgment 
the Scottish tenant farmer is endowed with good sense, 
and is clever enough to be able to make a bargain for 
himself. In this district I hardly believe you would 
care to have a Land Court, with all the expenses in- 
cidental thereto, for the simple reason that from time 
immemorial you have been accustomed to depend upon 
neighbours of judgment and discretion to act as arbiters 
when differences arose. If, however, it should appear to 
be the general wish of tenant farmers to have a Land 
Court, or valuators appointed by the Sheriff in order to 
give legal sanction to such references to arbitration, there is 


no reason why this Court of Appeal, open to landlords and 
tenants alike, should not be established. There is one 
point which, without any reference to party politics, I may 
allude to ; it is to legislation directed specially in favour of 
crofters in Scotland, and I should like to hear from any of 
you who are interested in this matter, and indeed from 
others in the county of Perth, whether it is considered 
necessary or desirable to include our county within the 
operations of the proposed Act. It has been said in the 
newspapers that, with all the need there is for improve- 
ments in the estate of Glenlyon, it is to be hoped that the 
proprietor will not improve the people off the face of the 
earth. I am quite sure of one thing there is much need 
of improvement all over the estate ; but as there is no Bill 
passed to give the landlord compensation for his improve- 
ments, exhausted or unexhausted for the only place in 
which his bills for improvements can be passed is through 
the Bank the best return he can look for will be the con- 
viction in your minds, and in his own, that he has not been 
neglectful of the responsibilities attaching to his position. 
The people of Glenlyon are placed in the midst of lovely 
and impressive scenery, unrivalled throughout Scotland. 
Let me express the hope that the district may be equally 
renowned for its social and moral excellence. 

The Rev. David Campbell, minister of the parish of 
Fortingall, said that, hearing of the movement among the 
tenantry on the Glenlyon House estate, he had the desire 
to come and tender Sir Donald his good wishes with the 
others. He had also been requested, on behalf of the people 
on the estate, to tender their good wishes on this occasion 
to Lady Currie and the others of the family, and wish fot 


them long life and happiness in connection with this addi- 
tion to the family property. And he did this very readily 
because he knew that these good wishes were well be- 
stowed. He knew that Lady Currie would take that interest 
in the people on the Glenlyon estate which the lady of the 
manor naturally takes in those about her, and which she 
had taken since she had come to Garth. She had taken 
an interest in the young, and in those whose circumstances 
claimed the good offices of neighbour and friend. Standing 
as they did there before that old house of Tullichmullin, 
Sir Donald would permit to some of them a sentiment of 
sadness that the place was no longer to be connected with 
the old name with which it was associated so long. But 
changes would take place, and since there \vas to be a 
change there it was desirable in all respects that the estates 
of Garth and Glenlyon House should become one posses- 
sion. They were so mixed up and mingled together that 
there was great inconvenience experienced. Sir Donald 
would be welcomed because he had shown that he took an 
interest in the people and was desirous for their comfort 
and happiness. No doubt among some of the humbler 
homesteads upon such an estate as this, one of the chief 
features of whose history had been an absence of disturb- 
ance or change, there might be natural apprehension lest 
new lairds should make new laws, and that more or less 
disturbance might be the result. But he felt assured that 
in whatever Sir Donald did in that respect he would have 
in view the people's good. While he had no sympathy 
with the cry which was raised in some places of " Down 
with landlordism," at the same time they would probably 
agree with him that the prolonged or permanent absence 


of landlords from their estates was to be deprecated. There 
was scarcely anything that would fully make up for the 
proprietor's absence. Factors were in many instances 
admirable men, and rilled their often difficult posts well. 
Shooting tenants were also all very well at least some of 
them were but what was most to be desired was that the 
proprietor should pass a considerable portion of his time at 
home among his people ; and for a considerable portion of 
the year at least they were glad to think that Sir Donald 
and Lady Currie and their family would be resident on the 
Barony of Garth and Glenlyon. 

Sir Donald proposed the health of Colonel Campbell, 
the late proprietor of Glenlyon, which was received with 
acclamation. After dark, bonfires were lit on the emi- 
nences above Glenlyon and Drumchary, and as the night 
was clear they were seen from a long distance. 


AT the time of the purchase of the estate by Sir Donald 
Currie, the boundaries of Glenlyon and Garth inter- 
sected in an irregular and inconvenient manner, and as 
regards certain outlying portions of the moorland some 
uncertainty prevailed with respect to the rights of the laird 
of Glenlyon and the claims of neighbouring proprietors. 
The estate of Glenlyon was by no means a compact one, a 
considerable portion being entirely separated from the rest 
by the lands of Garth. Indeed the large extent of 2801 
acres of the hill ground was held in common between Glen- 
lyon and Garth ; and 5 1 1 acres known as Rynacra, and 
situated to the north-east of the Garth property, at a con- 
siderable distance from the Glenlyon moor, were held in 
common between the proprietor of Glenlyon and the 
Marquis of Breadalbane. It was in the north-western 
corner of Glenlyon estate that the question of boundaries 
was a source of confusion and dispute. In one case, com- 
mon ownership of 351 acres was claimed both by Glen- 
lyon and Lassintullich ; and in another there were conflict- 


ing claims by Dunalastair and Glenlyon with regard to 
the ownership of about 238 acres on the slopes of Craig- 

Naturally it is the desire of proprietors to have the 
boundaries of their estates defined, and joint rights of 
ownership eliminated. The complication in the case of 
Lassintullich was settled by the purchase by Sir Donald 
Currie of the rights claimed by Mr. Greig the proprietor 
of that estate. The controversy between Dunalastair and 
Glenlyon estates as to the respective rights of Dunala- 
stair and Glenlyon upon Craig-an-Earra was also brought 
to a settlement. The new proprietor of Dunalastair, Mr. 
H. T. Tennent, claimed that he had a joint proprietary right 
with the owner of Glenlyon in the Craig-an-Earra ground, his 
predecessors having from time to time shot over the ground, 
while, on the other hand, it was maintained on behalf of Sir 
Donald, that the estate of Dunalastair was entitled to a 
servitude of grazing only, in virtue of a Decrect Arbitral, 
dated 1723. 

In order to have an authoritative decision of the matter 
in dispute, it was mutually agreed between Mr. Tennent 
and Sir Donald Currie that the question should be referred 
to the arbitration of the then Lord Advocate, the Right 
Hon. J. B. Balfour, M.P., who in due time gave the following 
Award : 

Edinburgh, 6th August, 1886. 

Having considered the statements for the parties, productions and 
whole process, I find that Sir Donald Currie, as proprietor of the 
Estate of Glenlyon, has the sole and exclusive right of property in and 


to the piece of ground in question, extending to about 238 or 241 acres, 
being the southmost portion of the ground known as Craig-an-Earra, 
and that Mr. Tennent, as proprietor of Easter Tempar, forming part 
of the domain of Dunalastair, has no right of property in the said 
ground, but only a right of pasturage over the same, and that conse- 
quently Sir Donald Currie has the sole and exclusive right of shooting 
over the said piece of ground and decerns. 

(Signed) J. B. BALFOUR. 

The right of pasturage which belonged to Mr. Tennent 
was afterwards transferred by him to Sir Donald Currie 
by friendly arrangement. 

The eastern slope of Craig-an-Earra, extending to 96 
acres, and known as the Shiellings of Comrie, was the pro- 
perty of the Marquis of Breadalbane, but by agreement 
with Sir Donald Currie, this ground was purchased for the 
Glenlyon estate and added to it. 

With a view to the compactness of the two estates of 
Garth and Glenlyon respectively, Sir Donald Currie divided 
the two properties by distinct boundaries, transferring to 
Garth the Glenlyon commonty rights on the moorland, 
formerly held between the two estates, and placing Rynacra 
commonty ground within the Garth property. The lands 
'of Easter Drumchary and Nether Blairish which formed 
detached portions of Glenlyon, fitted in more naturally 
as parts of Garth, and were consequently taken from 
the one estate and added to the other. The land ac- 
quired from Lassintullich and Breadalbane by purchase, 
as well as that of Craig-an-Earra referred to in the 



award of the Lord Advocate were added to the estate of 

Sir Donald Currie has further redeemed the feu 
duties and casualties of superiority exigible from both 



THE Glenlyon Brooch, represented in the frontispiece, and referred to 
at page 289, is described by Thomas Pennant in his "Tour in Scotland," 
anno 1771. He states that Colonel Campbell of Glenlyon, showed him 
" a very antient brotche, which the Highlanders use like the fibula of 
the Romans to fasten their vest ; it is made of silver, is round, with 
a bar cross the middle, from whence are two tongues to fasten the 
folds of the garments ; one side is studded with pearl or coarse gems 
in a very rude manner ; on the other the names of the three kings of 
Cologne, Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar, with the word Consummatum. 
It was probably a consecrated brotche, and worn, not only for use, 
but as an amulet. Keysler's account of the virtues attributed to their 
names confirms my opinion. He says that they were written on slips 
of paper in this form, worn as preservatives against the falling sick- 
ness : 

" Caspar fert Myrrham, Thus Melchior) Balthazar Aurum, 
Solvitur a morbo Christi pie fate caduco" 

That is to say : 

" Caspar brings myrrh, Melchior incense, Balthazar gold, 
By the mercy of Christ one is set free from the falling sickness." 


With reference to the walking-staff also represented on the frontis- 
piece, Mr. Pennant makes the following observations : * ' Saw at the 
house of Colonel Campbell of Glenlyon, a curious walking-staff, 
belonging to one of his ancestors ; it was iron cased in leather, five 
feet long ; at the top a neat pair of extended wings like a caduceus ; 
but, on being shaken, a poniard, two feet nine inches long, darted 
out. " 


Glenlyon tradition strongly points to these round forts, having been all 
lofty and roofed edifices, but the diameter of the Cashlie forts is too 
great for any beam to cover it. Others are so small that they could 
have been topped easily enough by a beehive roof. 


St. Eonan is St. Adamnan, the biographer of St. Columba, and Abbot 
of lona. St. Adamnan was expelled by his monks because he yielded 
to Rome on the tonsure and Easter questions. It is not so sure that he 
ever got restored to his place in lona, or that it was there he was first 
buried. After a time, indeed, his bones are found now in lona and then 
in Ireland. But his first place of burial might have been Dull. There is 
no doubt that an abbey and church were established there in St. Adam- 
nan's honour. Adamnan means " little Adam" inGaelic Adhamhnan, 
which sound pretty much the same as Eonan. No sooner had I told 
the legend in the form in which it was usually recited, than Iain Mor 
Mac Bob gave another version of it to me in rather old Gaelic which I 
translated as follows: Calum of Kells brought a company of Gillean De, 
servants of God, or Culdees from Erinn to preach the Peace-message 
to the Gael of the West. In li, the little isle at the nose of Mull, the 
holy men took up their abode. There they built a church and a 
common habitation, and there they opened schools, and Calum of 
Kells was their chief or Abba. When these Gillean De had converted 
most of the chiefs, and great numbers of the people of the Gael of the 
West, Calum of Kells called the Gillean De together, and said, " Who 
of you will cross Drumalban and preach to the men of Alban the Peace- 
message of our Lord ? " And twelve of the Gillean De rose forthwith, 
offering to go ; and Calum of Kells blessed them ; and they set out and 


marched together, even until they reached the cairn of Drumalban, 
and there they separated, each following a different stream and pass 
into the country of Alban. Eonan was one of the twelve, and from 
the cairn of Drumalban he followed the pass which led him to Glen- 
lyon ; but it was not then called Glenlyon at all. Its name was 
" Gleann dubh crom nan garbh chlach " black crooked glen of large 
stones. Eonan built a church, and preached the Peace-message ; and 
at first the men of the Glen would listen to him not, but preferred the 
ways of their fathers. Eonan then built a mill turned by water, and 
there had been no such mill in the Glen ever before ; and all the grain 
had till then be ground by "clacban brathan" (querns); and the 
people of the Glen began to think much of him, and to listen to him, 
and to be baptized. He lived among them until they were all made 
Christians, and they honoured him greatly ; and when he was dying, 
they asked, " Where he wished to be buried ? " He replied to them 
that as soon as he had given up his soul they should place his body on 
a bier, and run " lunnan " bearing sticks through rings of withs 
" dullan " attached to the bier, and then taking him up they should 
carry him down the water, until a ring of withs " dul" broke. And 
when the first " dul" of the bier broke, then he wished them to bury 
him. So when Eonan gave up his soul the men of the Glen did as he 
told them. And soon after they passed the running together of the 
rivers Lyon and Tay, the first ring broke, and there they buried him, 
and named the spot " Dul." The name of Eonan was great among the 
people of Alban, and the Gillean De of the land of Alban, who were 
many of them his disciples, built a church over his grave, and a com- 
mon house and schools in its near vicinity. After that the high king of 
Alban gave to the Gillean De of Dul, and the father or abba they had 
set over themselves, a city of refuge girth, which was marked out by large 
stones, and also a large lordship, which, until this day, is called Appin- 
Dhul (Abthania de Dul ?) or the Abba-Land of Dul. Great waxed the 
fame of the schools kept by the Gillean De of Dul. To them flocked 
the sons of kings, princes, and heroes in the land of Alban ; and Dul 
and St. Eonan were to the people of Alban what Calum of Kells 
and the little li at the nose of Mull were to the Gael of the West. 
Afterwards troubles arose and changes came. The common home and 
the schools were removedfrom Dul to Dunchaillion(Dunkeld),andafter- 
wards to Kilribhein CSt. Andrews), where the schools are yet, although 
the Gillean De went out of sight long long ago, 


Old John had also a semi-poetic account of the stopping of the 
plague, which I did not translate, as it was in substance just the same 
as that which I had already given. I should think the Glenlyon 
people must have been accustomed in Catholic times, to services 
on St. Eonan's day, of which the above legend used to be part. St. 
Adamnan died in 703. 


The etymological spelling given by Mr John Cameron, who forty 
years ago was schoolmaster at Innervar, is adopted here. It yields a 
natural enough meaning, but the country people always call this rock 
Craig-fhiannaidh, that is the " Rock of the Feinne," which conforms 
quite as well to the undoubted fact that it was a place on which judicial 
and other solemn meetings were held in very ancient times, and con- 
tinued to be held until about 1480, or some years later when Stewart 
of Garth and the Clan Iver quarrelled and fought as related by General 
Stewart. On the top of this rock where the judge sat, there is what 
is called the footmark of Peallaidh, or St. Palladius. who was sent from 
Rome to convert the Irish in 432, but who, not being well received in 
the neighbouring isle, came to the land of the Picts where he died. 
Aberfeldy, Obair, or Aber-Pheallaidh receives its name from this early 
saint, who towards the east coast turns into Paldy, and even into Paddy. 
St. Eonan's cross, which marked the spot where he stopped, or was 
supposed to have stoped the plague, is a little to the west of the rock 
by the roadside. Some fanatic broke off the arms and top of it, pro- 
bably at the time of the covenant ; but on the broken shaft a rude 
figure of a cross was incised by some one who cherished old traditions. 
Inverinnian, some miles to the east of Cray-fhiannaidh, and on the 
other side of the river, is apparently named after St. Ninian, but the 
water-fall there is called after Peallaidh or Palladius, and so is a stone 
seat to which formerly miraculous qualities were attributed. At In- 
nervar was a chapel dedicated to a doubtful saint. The little burial 
place which marks the spot has now received the name of Claodh- 
Ghunna, which is perhaps the degraded form into which " Claodh- 
Ghuinoch " has degenerated. Below the churchyard is a sacred well or 
"tiobart," There was an "annait" or relic chapel at Balnahannait, 


and another at the very head of the Glen near the ridge of Drumalban, 
but to what saints these were dedicated deponent cannot say. 


WE may accept the tradition without hesitation that it was St. Eonan, 
01 Adamnan, who, in his years of exile from the Monastery of lona, 
built the Chapel of " Branboth " Breanvo, or, as it is now called, 
" Brennudh," near the Bridge of Balgie. Notwithstanding the prior 
claims of Saints Palladius, Ninian, and others, Adamnan made himself, 
without any mistake, the patron Saint of Glenlyon. The traditions 
about him remained so vividly clear and strong, notwithstanding many 
ways of rehearsing them in detail, that he must have had a living per- 
sonal connection with the place, and done things attributed to him, 
such as the building of the chapel on the rising ground called still 
" Druim-na-h-eaglais," just where the farm-house of Kerrumore now 
stands, and putting a mill on the stream of the neighbouring side-glen 
at Milton Eonan. It is supposed that he dedicated his chapel to St. 
Brandan, of voyaging and travelling fame, but this is a little doubtful, 
in the third volume of Celtic Scotland, page 271, Dr. Skene, quoting 
from the chartulary of the Priory of St. Andrews, says : " In the time 
of Alexander the Third, Dul and Foterkel " (Dull and Fortingall, in- 
cluding Foss and Glenlyon), " remained still Crown lands, but the 
Church of Dul, with its Chapels of Foss and Branboth, in Glenlyon, 
belonged to Malcolm, Earl of Athole, who, after the death of William, 
his cleric, granted them to the Priory of St. Andrews." The Chapel of 
Branboth was removed from Druim-na-h-eaglais to the present church- 
yard by Black John after 1368, because, owing to the bog between the 
old and new sites, his wife, Janet, the cousin of King David Bruce, 
complained that she could not in all weathers go to her devotions 
without wetting her feet. St. Eonan built his Chapel near the only 
stone circle in Glenlyon. The stones of this circle have been removed 
within my memory. The place is called " Clachaig." 



The very first Laird of Glenlyon was William Olifant, who received a 
grant of the ^40 lands thereof from King Robert Bruce. Till then, 
Glenlyon had always been Crown land. At page 558 of Vol. II. 
Exchequer Rolls, John of Inchmartin, Sheriff of Perth, debits himself 
for forty shillings received for the forty pound lands, quas dominus 
Willelmus Olifant, tenet in Glenlyotm^ which Sir William Olifant holds 
in Glenlyon. 


The Register of the Great Seal records, in 1368, the giving of Glen- 
lyon, by King David Bruce, to John of Lome, and his wife. Janet, who 
is described as being the King's cousin. The grant is confirmed in 
1372, apparently on Janet's death. It is here the story of the " dalta " 
ought to come in ; unless, indeed, the connection of Campbell's step- 
son was with John of Lome's successor. John of Lome, to whom David 
Bruce granted Glenlyon, was a Macdougal, but his daughter and heiress 
carried most of his property to her husband, John Stewart, Lord of 
Lome, who, perhaps, was, after all, the Black John of Glenlyon tradi- 
tion, and the father of seven sons. The first Campbell Laird of Glen- 
orchy, Cailean Dubh na Roimhe, " Black Colin of Rome," married the 
eldest of the three daughters of the last Stewart Lord of Lome, and his 
son, Sir Duncan, inherited through his mother a duchas or hereditary 
right to Glenlyon. James the Third, however, granted, in 1477, Glen- , 
lyon an'd Glenquaich on lease to Stewart of Garth. The lease of nine- 
teen years terminated in 1495, and on the 7th September, 1502, Sir 
Duncan Campbell of Glenorchy received a Crown charter of the 
disputed barony for himself in liferent, and in fee for his younger 
son, Archibald, called 


This " Pale Archibald " was only a boy when his father, " The Good 
Knight," fell at Flodden. Archibald married the heiress of Kil- 
moriche, and some bard composed a ballad of no great merit, some 
verses of which came down orally from 1520 to my own time. It 
opened thus : 



Ghilleasbaig mhic Dhonnachaidh, 
Thilg thu 'n urchair ud ceart, 
Killamhairrche 's Gleannliomhunn, 
Dh' aon sgriob ann ad chairt. 


WHILE we have a good deal of literature, both prose and verse, in 
English and Gaelic about the long war waged by the Clan Gregor against 
the State, and the persecution they suffered in consequence of that war, 
it still remains for Mr. Skene, or some other historical antiquary, to 
throw light upon the origin of the war, and of the clan itself. The Mac- 
gregors claim descent from Kenneth and Alpin, but, as far as we can 
learn from records, their surname only dates from the beginning of the 
fifteenth century. No doubt the Dean of Lismore, or his curate, puts 
down in the Chronicle of Fortingall the death of John Gregory that 
is, son of Gregor of Glenorchy in 1390, but we suspect very strongly 
that this was a reflex name, and that John's son, Gregor, who died in 
1414, was the chief from whom his tribe took their surname. But by 
what designation were they known before ? The Robertsons, who 
were called Clan Donnachaidh from the time of Bannockburn till 1440, 
then called themselves after their chief, Robert, of fighting celebrity. 
Such changes of clan surnames were, indeed, rather conmon ; but the 
curious thing about the Macgregors is that their history antecedent to 
the end of the fourteenth century cannot be traced at all, and that in 
the next century they are found to be a very large scattered tribe war- 
ring with society, and developing a great deal of heroism and poetry 
in their state of lawless savagery. Donnacha Beag little Duncan 
he grandfather of that John who died in 1390, and who therefore prob- 
ably lived as late as 1370, was the first of the line of chiefs of whom 
the bard, Mac Gilliondaig, " am fear dan," ever heard. Now Mac 
Gilliondaig composed his song in praise of Malcolm, the then chief of 
the clan, at least twenty years before the Dean of Lismore's brother 
Duncan wrote down the pedigree of John, the grandson of Malcolm, 
"from the books of the genealogists of the Kings," as he says, and it 
is Duncan whom we first find putting forth the claim of descent from 
King Kenneth Mac Alpin, ot which tfie older bard makes no mention 
whatever. Duncan's pedigree is absurd on the face of it. Backward 
from the then living chief, Black John (who died in 1519), he gives the 
links right enough to Donnacha Beag. Here they are : "John the 


son of Patrick, the son of Malcolm, the son of Black John, the son of 
John, the son of Gregor, the son of John, the son of Malcolm 
he son of Duncan the Little" eight generations in one hundred 
and fifty years. And how does he link Duncan with Kenneth 
Mac Alpin? As follows : " Duncan the son of Duncan from 
Stirling, the son of Gilfillan, the son of Hugh of Orchay (Glenorchay), 
the son of Kenneth, the son of Alpin, and this Kenneth was head 
King of Scotland in truth at that time ; and this John is the 
eleventh man from Kenneth of whom I spoke." While the eight later 
descents are crowded into one hundred and fifty years, the other four 
between Duncan the Little and King Kenneth were generously allowed 
five hundred years among them. The Irish genealogies given by Mr. 
Skene are wonderfully correct in most instances up to the thirteenth 
or even twelfth century, but that of the Macgregors, which differs con- 
siderably from the above pedigree, is not of much value except as re- 
gards the grouping of clans into stocks. Let us always bear in mind 
that clans only began to be formed when the old Celtic system began 
to break down, and the Celtic Kings were followed by Kings of Fife 
and the Lothians. 

At the end of the fifteenth century there were three leading families 
of the clan, namely the Macgregors of Glenstrae, who had long been 
connected with Glenorchy, and the Macgregors of Roro in Glenlyon 
and of Bealach in Breadalbane. As to the latter two, the Macgregors of 
Roro were tenants, or rather what the Irish would call " middlemen," 
who farmed from the feudal lord, Menzies of Weem, the Glenlyon 
"Toiseachd" granted to his ancestors by Robert or David Bruce. 
They were cadets of the Glenorchy family, and their settlement in 
Glenlyon cannot be placed earlier than the year 1368, when King 
David granted that Glen to John of Lome, " and our cousin Janet his 
wife." The local tradition is constant that John of Lome, or " Iain 
Dubh nan lann," first brought in this family as his henchmen. The 
history of the Bealach Macgregors is obscure. From indications in 
charters, we should say they were people who squatted on the lands 
of the monks of Scone, and gave a vast deal of trouble before they were 
forcibly evicted in the sixteenth century. The Glenstrae Macgregors 
were, when light falls upon them, feudal vassals of the Earl of Argyll, 
but although poor in regard to landed possessions, they were chiefs or 
captains of a great clan so great that it must have taken centuries to 
form it. The clan poems found in the Dean of Lismore's collection 


show clearly enough that the war with feudal laws, and the raids and 
slaughters that attended these, were in full swing during the fourteenth 
century, although Scottish history, while saying much about the Mac- 
donalds and others, is perfectly silent about the Macgregors. We may, 
however, fully believe that they had a hand in every revolt and 
tumult within the Highland line from the battle of Harlaw down 
to the Reformation. And what could have placed them in this 
state of permanent rebellion to law and order ? We believe they had 
suffered at one time a loss of patrimonial rights and status, which made 
them savage against authority and feudal tenures ; and that loss could 
only have taken place in the reign of Robert Bruce, when the King's 
lands, watered by the Tay, began to be given out under feudal charters. 
It does not at all follow, because after Bannockburn the leading family 
is found planted in Glenorchy, that the clan had previously been there, 
or that it was the original cradle of their race. The Macgregor chief- 
tains were probably " Toiseachs," or captains, or kindly tenants of the 
Crown on the King's lands, who, in the War of Independence struggle, 
forfeited their duchas or patrimonial rights by going against Bruce and 
righting on the side of Macdougal of Lome and the English King. 
This theory of dispossession would account for the future history of the 
clan, if it could be substantiated. It would also supply a reason for 
the somewhat curious anomaly of the clan being found chiefly in Perth- 
shire at later dates, while the chieftains lived in Glenorchy. Mr. 
Donald Gregory assumed, indeed, that the "John of Glenorchy" 
living in 1286-94 was a Macgregor chief, but that John and his succes- 
sors, we believe, were not Macgregors at all, but cadets of the house 
of Macdougal of Lome ; and if Macdougals and Macgregors fought 
shoulder to shoulder during the Brucian war, it might be well expected 
that the "Toiseach" driven out of Perthshire should get refuge and 
land from the Macdougals, where his services would be of most avail 
to their faction. Mac Gilliondaig, " am fear dan," is really the most 
reliable and oldest authority we have in regard to the traditional his- 
tory handed down from generation to generation among the clan them- 
selves. Now Mac Gilliondaig begins his song by asserting that from 
the beginning of their order " Toisichean " were the equals of feudal 
lords or barons the lairds of subsequent times : 

"Buaidh Thighearn air thoisichibh 
A ta o thus an cinne." 

Mac Gilliondaig says nothing about the Royal descent which is so 


prominently put forward afterwards, but he distinctly refers the origin 
of the race back to Gallew, or Galloway. He mentions first that they 
took the beginning of their inheritance or fame the word is uncertain 
from that place, and in the concluding lines of his song he calls 

" Mac Griogair bos barr chorcuir, 
Mac Derwail buidhe o Ghallew." 

The fictions of the genealogists of the sixteenth and seventeenth cent- 
uries which culminated in the charter impositions of that perversely 
ingenious scholar, George Earl of Cromarty were so many and so 
gross that we are now-a-days too much disposed to overlook the nug- 
gets of true facts and clues to historical difficulties which can be found 
in the earlier and more trustworthy clan traditions. All unwritten tra- 
ditions jumble things considerably together and make havoc with chron- 
ology, but yet there is generally an element of truth to be found in 
every popular tradition which came down from of old, and was not ad- 
opted from side sources like the mistakes of outside histories and the falla- 
cies of antiquaries. It is quite possible, with the help of Mac Gilliondaig's 
references to the Gallowegian origin of the Macgregors to make out a 
fair historical case for their connection and probable kinship with Ken- 
neth and Alpin, although not at all for their descent from these princes. 
Mr. Skene proves very clearly that Kenneth and his father were very 
closely associated with the Gael of Galloway and Carrick, and that it 
was from that region they obtained their armies. What could be more 
natural and more politic for Kenneth, therefore, when he obtained the 
throne of Scone, than to put his own soldiers and friends as kindly 
tenants on the Crown lands ? and if he did so, we need not be surprised 
that afterwards, as long as that settlement lasted, they had no history 
of their own ; for their history would be merged in that of the King's, 
whose Household Troops they were. These kindly tenants were, in 
fact something more than the King's bodyguard, for they were all that 
represented a standing army. It was only on great occasions that the 
array of the Kingdom was mustered, but without a competent force 
always at hand the kings could not have done, in those rough times, 
the work they did. But tenants so exercised in the use of arms from 
generation to generation would become a military caste with hereditary 
instincts for fight, and when driven by their own fault or mistake into 
revolt, they would be sure to give much trouble, and fight against fate 
for old customs and forfeited privileges. The supposition that the 


Macgregors were old kindly military tenants of the Crown, who for 
four hundred and sixty years enjoyed their Celtic customs, and 
that having taken the wrong side in the War of Independence they for- 
feited their " duchas," and saw themselves displaced by feudal pro- 
prietors, accounts for their after conduct, and the hankering for rever- 
sion to a past and irrecoverable state of things which threw them, as 
free lances or allies on the sides of rebels like Macdonald of the Isles, 
Neil Stewart of Garth, the Earl of Huntly, and scores of other troublers 
in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and which later on made them 
strong adherents of the Stuart cause, although in the days gone by they 
had given the sovereigns of that House infinite trouble. 

Mac Gilliondaig says of Duncan the Little that he left as an inherit- 
ance to Clan Gregor their heroism : 

Dh'fhag mar chuid dilib 

Do Chloinne Ghriogair an gaisge. 

But what kind of heroism ? That of spoiling. Duncan the little, he 
says, was " great by his spoils." English invasions, the captivity of 
the King, and the other chaotic troubles of David Bruce's reign must 
have afforded a man of Duncan's turn a fine opportunity for exercising 
his talents. But general history takes no notice of him nor of his suc- 
cessors in the next century, who also, the bards tell us, gained cattle 
and gold by the heroism of spoliation. This silence of history, we 
think, must be due to the fact that they fought as free lances under the 
banners of feudal chiefs. In the sixteenth century they changed their 
tactics and took to fighting and foraying openly on their own hand. 
The chief, Black John, who died in 1529, married a young wealthy 
widow Helen Campbell, daughter of Colin of Glenorchy whom he 
captured by force and fraud. But if he " ravished " Helen she forgave 
him, and probably had he lived longer he would have settled down as 
a steady going feudal laird. He died unfortunately, leaving an infant 
son, Alexander, who fell under the influence of his relative, that wildest 
of all the wild Macgregors, Donnacha Ladosach Duncan Laidus of 
the Testament satire and so the young chief took to a life of atrocities, 
which included such events as the slaying of twenty-six Balquhidder 
Maclaurins in Passion week, the burning of the Royal hunting lodge 
of Trochree, and many slaughters, captures, and raids. The chief 
died and Duncan disappeared by "justification" of law between 
1546 and 1551. Alexander left a young son, Gregor "Griogair ban 
nan basa geala '' of the most pathetic of all laments who married a 


daughter of the Laird of Glenlyon, Donnacha Ruadh na feile. Gregor 
was chief, alias " Laird Macgregor," when he and his clan were taken 
in hand for their "oppressions" by Queen Mary. Gregor was a hero in 
the opinion of more people than his devoted wife ; but the wildness of 
his blood prevailed, and after several opportunities for amendment 
had been given him, he was hunted down by the feudal array of most 
of Perthshire and Argyllshire, and brought to the block at Kenmore 
in 1 570. His last misdeeds were the slaughter and oppression of people 
of his own clan who refused to pay him chief's calpa and follow him 
in his raids. This trouble was not a new one. When Duncan Ladosach 
acted as tutor for the former chief he " warred with his own nation," 
that is, with peaceful, law abiding Macgregors who refused to be led 
into the commission of enormities, and placed themselves under the 
protection of the law and their feudal proprietors. 


The notice of Hospitable Red Duncan's death is almost the last entry 
in The Chronicle of Fortingall began by Sir James MacGregor, vicar of 
Fortingall and Dean of Lismore, about 1500, and continued by his 
curate. The old scribe who wrote Duncan's obituary notice was a 
Roman Catholic, but while knowing that the dead laird had "followed 
the sect of the heretics," he expressed a strong hope in regard to his 
salvation, because he was a hilarious soul and a cheerful giver. 


I know I had some proof once of Glenlyon having suffered there 
several times during Colin Gorach's time from Clanranald and Glencoe 
raiders. I have lost the reference. Probably the first time was when 
Carnban Castle was set on fire. The following entry in the Register 
of the Privy Council records the second raid, which happened a year 
or two before that conducted by Dougal which ended in the capture 
of the spoilers and their wholesale execution : 

"St. Andrews, August 20, 1583. Complaint of Colin Campbell ot 
Glenlyon, as follows : Alexander McCreland, John Dow M'Creland, 
Alexander McAine Dow Mhic Kreneld, Neil McConeill Mhic Coneill, 
Alexander McAmemiss, Angus McAn Dow, Donald Mclnnuss, Alex- 
ander McAlexander McGorrie, John Dow McConeill McCreneW 


Alexander McCain McAin Mhic Coneill, Donald McGerrie, William 
McConeill Mhic Gorme, Ewin McAin Mhic Coneill, John Dow 
McNeill Mhic Harther, Fercher Dow McConeill Mhic Alster, Donald 
McArther, John Dow McConeill McNeill, Rory McConeill Mhic Neill, 
Lachlan McTerlich Mhic Lachlin, Nocheroy, John Mclnlay Roy, 
John Dow Mclnoss, with their complices, to the number of three score 
persons or thereby, with bow, darloch, and other weapons invasive, 
came upon the 24th day of June last bypast, by the break of day, and 
masterfully reft, spulzied, and away took from the said complainer, 
and Duncan Reoch, John Glass McEvin McDonald Dowy, and Don- 
ald McConald Reoch, hisjservants, furth of his lands of Glenlyon and 
Glencalyie, four score head of ky, eleven horses and mares, together 
with the whole insight and plenishing of their houses; as also they not 
satiated with the said open oppression committed by them as said 
is, struck and dang the women of the said lands, and cutted the hair 
of their head. Charge having been given to the persons complained 
of to appear and answer under pain of rebellion, and they not appear- 
ing, while the complainer appears by James Campbell of Ardkinglas, 
his procurator, the Lords order all the culprits to be denounced rebels." 
When Colin was asked after the slaughter if he would put his hand 
to, that is sign, a statement confessing his guilt, he replied at once that 
he would put his hand and foot to the confession in question. " An 
cuir sibh ar lamh ris an aideachadh so ? '' asked the limb of the law 
who was sent" on the rather perilous errand. " Cuiridh, cuiridh, a 
laochain, an da chuid ma lamh's mo chas,' replied Colin, without 


Colin, when he succeeded his father hospitable Duncan, friend of 
bards in 1579, had a higher character than most of the rough barons 
of the time. His education had not been neglected. In the wars of 
his time he had displayed warrior qualities which attracted the notice 
of the men at the head of affairs. But it would seem he " got a clour 
on the head" in one of the encounters connected with the Lennox- 
Arran period of confusion, which unbalanced his mental equilibrium 
without at all interfering with the occasional display of great cleverness, 
and the constant possession of a defensive and offensive capacity, com- 
bined with acute cunning, which made him dangerous to his foes and 


sometimes to his friends. In 1585 Colin was a widower. He had 
just finished building his Castle of Meggernie, and thought he should 
marry another wife. His first wife had been a daughter of Cailean 
Liath of Glenorchy, and therefore a second cousin of his own. Ex- 
cept in the matter of his wholesale revenge on the Abraich, mentioned 
before, Colin's madness had been kept within bounds as long as his 
first wife lived. She was not very long in the grave before he tried to 
fill her vacant place by the outrageous wooing described in the follow- 
ing complaint recorded in the Register of the Privy Council-. 

"Falkland, September 16, 1587. Complaint of Dame Agnes Sin- 
clair, Countess of Errol, as follows : While in October last, she was 
living quietly in Inchestuthill, Colin Campbell of Glenlyon, with con- 
vocation of men, bodin in feir of weir, to the number of one hundred, 
came to the said place under cloud and silence of night, and after they 
had assieged the same a certain space, they treasonably raised fire at 
the gates thereof, where through she was constrained, for fear of the 
fury of fire, and for the preservation of her own life, to come forth ; at 
which time the said Colin Campbell and his complices put violent 
hands on the said complainer, revissed her (took her forcibly away, 
abducted her) and led her as captive and prisoner with them the space 
of twelve miles, of intention to have used her according to his filthy 
appetite and lust, or otherwise to have used some extremity against 
her; and had not failed so to have done, were it not by the providence 
of God she was delivered and freed of him by the Earl of Athole and 
his servants. Like as at that same time they cruelly hurt and wounded 
Alexander Hay, her servant, with a sword upon the hand, and John 
Mernis, another of her servants, with an arrow upon the face. The 
Countess of Errol appearing by John Bisset, her servant and procura- 
tor, but Colin Campbell failing to appear, the Lords order him to be 
denounced rebel." 

Dame Agnes Sinclair was a daughter of the Earl of Caithness who 
died in 1583, and the widow of Andrew, Earl of Errol, who died in 
1585. She was Earl Andrew's second wife. He was a man above 
fifty when he died, Dame Agnes was probably only half her old lord's 
age. Very soon after Mad Colin's attempt to abduct her she married 
Alexander Gordon, Strathdon, and removed to the neighbourhood of 
Aberdeen. They had indeed a long litigation about the possession of 
a house in Aberdeen itself, and had to give caution they would not in- 
jure their opponents by taking the law into their own hand, After be- 


ing put to the horn in September, 1587, Cailean Gorach "remained 
contempnanlie unrelaxed." So the Countess obtained letters, charging 
him and the keepers of his dwelling houses (the castles of Meggernie 
and Carnban) to render the same to the executioner of the said 
letters, and also ordering him to enter within the castle of Black- 
ness within a certain time under the pain of treason. He dis. 
obeyed of course, and then the Countess craved and obtained his 
Majesty's commission for pursuit of him by fire and sword. Surely 
the madman will now yield and make atonement meet. He is not, 
like law breakers in the distant Highlands and the Isles, beyond the 
reach of justice. He lives within fifty miles both of Stirling and of 
Perth. The King himself comes every year to hunt the deer in the 
forest of Mamlorn, which lies across the heads of Glenlochay, Glen- 
lyon, and Glenorchy. Yes, but there's the rub. It is just because the 
King knows him very well that Cailean Gorach is never brought to 
real stern account for his misdeeds and contemptuous conduct. King 
James fell very early into the bad habit of interfering with the course 
of justice, and of assuming to himself the dispensing power which 
completed the national indictment against his grandson and namesake, 
and more than anything else caused the removal of the Stuart dynasty. 
We find the Lords of the Council over and over again, as in the case 
of Cailean Gorach, declaring the royal intervention null and void, and 
yet unable in most cases, when the King himself did not repent of his 
hasty action, to set the crooked straight. On July 2ist, 1591, six 
years after the attempt to abduct her, the relentless Countess com- 
plains to the Council that to stay the commission of fire and sword, 
Colin Campbell of Glenlyon, " by the means of some shameless and 
indiscreet persons, preferring their own private gain and commodity 
to His Highness's honour, privily, without his Majesty's knowledge " 
a mere lie for decency's sake " obtained a letter under the King's 
subscription and signet relaxing him from the horn for any cause by- 
gone. In justice to the complainers, and others having action against 
him, and also for relieving his Highness of the daily fasherie of indis- 
creet and inopportune suitors of such like letters," the Countess, 
through her procurator, urged " the said letter ought to be declared 
null." Colin was charged to appear and produce the privy letter of 
relaxation. He failed, as usual, to obey. The Countess and her 
spouse appeared by James Harvie, their procurator and the Lords 
" decerned the said letter of relaxation to have been surreptiti- 


ously obtained of his Majesty, and therefore to be null, and ordained 
the said letters of horning, caption, and treason against Colin Camp- 
bell of Glenlyon, and the commission following thereupon, to be put to 
further execution in all points." 

Most of Cailean Gorach's pranks were more amusing than danger- 
ous. On one occasion, perhaps in connection with the Countess of 
Errol's process, he gave a splendid funeral to two sheriff-officers who 
served writs upon him. Colin took the papers without demur, gave 
the limbs of the law a good dinner, and then, binding them on biers 
like dead bodies, and calling his men and pipers together, he marched 
at the head of the mocking procession, to the wail of the bag-pipes, 
for ten miles, until he finally hurled biers and occupants, without any 
danger to the latters' lives or limbs, in Alt-a-Ghobhlain, the burn 
which bounded his barony. Some thirty years ago I asked an old 
Glenlyon man, after he had related to me a whole string of Cailean 
Gorach's pranks, whether he was not in the end placed under restraint. 
His reply was : "Cha deach Cailean riamh a chuir an laimh. Bha'n 
Righ na charaid's na chul-taic dha. 'Sa Mhoire ! bu duine aoidheil, 
fialaidh, fiachail Cailean, agus ge do chaidh cartuathal na cheann am 
meadhon aois gu latha a bhais cha d' fhuair mac mathar a chuid a b' 
fhearr dhe." 


After the entry of 1591, we find nothing more in the Privy Council 
Register about the process of the Countess of Errol. It is doubtful 
whether she ever got any satisfaction. It is quite certain the commission 
of fire and sword was never executed. But in the years 1589 and 1590 
Cailean Gorach was one of the most conspicuous actors in the feudal 
war between Lord Ogilvie of Airlie and the Earl of Argyle Lord 
Ogilvie puts Colin and his brother Archibald and Donald M'Tarlich, 
from the Laird of Glenorchy's bounds, down among his chief foes in 
the war which, he says, wrecked his house. And here follows a special 
complaint, which proves that in feudal war, if not in forays, Colin 
could snap up cattle as well as the Glencoe and Clanranald men, who 
had swept the Glenlyon sheilings a few years earlier : 

" Holyrood House, Nov. 5, 1591. Complaint by William M'Nicol 
in Little Fortour, as follows : In the beginning of the late troubles 
between the Earl of Argyll and Lord Ogilvie, when the broken men of 
Argyll and other parts of the Hielands came down within Angus, the 


complainer was spuilyied of all his goods, including sheep, nolt, and 
horses, with the exception of 70 cows and oxen only, which he sent to 
Glenshie for safety. But Colin Campbell of Glenlyon, being adver- 
tised hereof, associated unto himself forty of the said broken men and 
sorners, and came to Glenshie, where he violently reft and away took 
the said 70 cows and oxen ; and although the complainer has often 
craved restitution, yet the said Colin not only avows the deed and 
refuses restitution, but schores (threatens) him with further injury and 
malice, where through he, being sometimes an honest householder 
and entertainer of a great household and family, is now brought to 
misery and poverty. The complainer appearing personally, Colin 
Campbell of Glenlyon, for failing to appear, was denounced rebel." 

Colin's sister was the wife of that Gregor Macgregor, chief of his 
clan, who, in consequence of peremptory orders from the Regent and 
Council, was hunted down by the array of Athole and Breadalbane in 
1570, and executed at Kenmore in presence of the Earl of Athole, 
Justice-General, and of the whole baronage of the district. Duncan 
Roy of Glenlyon and Colin, his son, were obliged to be present with 
the rest, and the Macgregor's heart-broken widow, in her pathetic 
song to her babe, thus spoke of father and brother : 

" 'S truagh nach robh m'athair ann an galar 
Agus Cailean ann am plaigh." 

She was unjust in her grief. Her father and her brother were true 
and kind friends to herself and her two boys, Alexander and John, 
after the storm. The boys were brought up wisely and well until 
Ewen, their clan tutor, took them away from Glenlyon, at their grand- 
father's death, and initiated them into the wild ways of their predeces- 
sors. The barbarous murder of John Drummond, one of his Glen- 
artney foresters, in 1589 roused an unusual flame of vindictive 
animosity in the usually placid breast of King James, which made 
the second persecution of the clan Gregor hotter than the first one. 
But Cailean Gorach would not join in the hunting down, although 
the persecuted had, in an accidental fray, brought about, it was sus- 
pected, by the machinations of Glenorchy, killed three of his men. 
He befriended not only his sister's sons, the young chief Allastair and 
Ian Dubh his brother, but went out of his way, and used all sorts of 
pncommon devices to protect the whole persecuted surname. Many 
of them lurked in the rocks and corries of his rugged hills, for the 
unrsuers remembered the fate of the Abraich raiders, and disliked in- 


vading the clever madman's lands, even under the royal commission. 
As it was " broken men" he had with him in the Glenshee affair, and 
as the lifting of Nicol's cattle was not a thing in Colin's own line, we 
may conclude that " broken " Macgregors had their fingers in that pie 
pretty deeply, and so repaid Colin's previous kindness to them. But 
his nephew and the Clan Gregor, as a whole, had nothing to do with 
the feudal war between Ogilvie and Argyle. 


Colin died at the end of 1596, or in the early part of 1597. We 
get our last glimpse of him in the following entry in the Privy Council 
Register : 

" Edinburgh, July 22, 1596. 

Complaint by Sir Duncane Campbell of Glenurquhy, forester of the 
forest of Mayne Lome (properly Mam-Lorne), as follows : Coline 
Campbell of Glenlyoun, Donald M'Conachy Vic Coniland, Donald 
M l lnstalker, John M'Veane, John M'Vean, his brother John M'Robert 

M'Kinly, M'Robert Graseche, John M'Gillichrist Duncan Reoch, 

and Donald Reoch his son, yearly in the summer seasoun comis and 
repairis to the said forest, biggis sheillis within and aboute the same, 
and remains the maist parte of the summer seasoun at the said forest, 
schuiting and slaying in grite nowmer the deir and wylde beastis 
within the same forest, and will not be stayed thairfra in tyme coming, 
unless commission be given to the said complener to destroy, dimoleis 
and cast doun the saidis scheillis. Sir Duncane appearing by Mr. 
John Archibald, his procurator, and Coline Campbell appearing by his 
son, the Lords grant commission to the complainer to the effect fore- 
said, because the said Coline, by his procurator, could show no cause 
in the contrary, and none of the other defenders had appeared to 
make any defence in the matter." 


The Caithness name for this fight between the Campbells and the 
Sinclairs is " The battle of Altnamarlach," of which a Caithness cor- 
respondent gave the subjoined account in the Northern Chronicle of 
July ist, 1885. 

The following does not pretend to be an exact historical account of 
the last of Scottish battles, fought for private ends and personal 
purposes, but is merely a reproduction of the legendary information 


concerning that event which still lingers in Caithness. It might be 
interesting if any one acquainted with Breadalbane traditions could 
supply some account of the combat, as common in that district in the 
present day, or even " within the memory of man." By such means 
light might be thrown on some particulars now obscure, and a stepping- 
stone made for more extended investigation. 

Campbell of Glenorchy and Sinclair of Keiss were rivals for the title 
of Earl of Caithness, and for the then extensive estates which went there- 
with. As Keiss continued resolutely to oppose Campbell's pretensions, 
the latter invaded Caithness with a force said to have consisted of five 
hundred Campbells and Macintyres, and sixty regular troops. The 
scabbard of a sabre not of a claymore was, some years ago, dug up 
on the site of the engagement, the form of which would seem to point 
to the presence of the regular military. This sheath, which was made 
of steel, had evidently been used to ward off the sweep of a broad- 
sword, and had been deeply cut into. The blade which it had en- 
closed must have been of extraordinary breadth, with a very decided 
curve not at all such a weapon as we are in the habit of associating 
with the Highlander of the period. 

This expedition of five hundred and sixty men was commanded by 
Robert Campbell of Glenlyon. Some accounts say that the invading 
force took shipping, and made the journey to Caithness by sea, and 
that not without danger of shipwreck in the Pentland Firth. Others 
maintain that the Campbells employed but one vessel, for the tran- 
sport not of men, but of whisky. This ship was judiciously wrecked 
near Wick, where Keiss had drawn together some Sinclairs, Gunns, 
and others, into whose hands the spirits fell, with results which did 
not tend to their advantage in the day of battle. If the first account 
be correct, the place where the expedition landed must have been 
Berriedale or its vicinity, for it seems to be very generally admitted that 
the Campbells encamped, during their first night in Caithness, at 
feraemore, where the Gunns supplied them with fodder for their horses. 
This hospitality was ill requited, for, so runs a tradition common in 
Strathmore, the invaders, on resuming their march, drove off numerous 
cattle belonging to their entertainers. Gunn of Braemore was at the 
time confined to his bed, suffering from fever, but when he heard of 
the treatment his people had received, he took horse, and, with as 
many men as he could gather on the spur of the moment, made a 
rapid march after the Campbells, and managed to cut off and secure 
the captured cattle, \vithout sustaining any very severe loss. The 


night during which the strangers encamped at Braemore (nth August, 
1680) was ushered in by a hard and unseasonable frost, which is still 
spoken of by old people as the natural accompaniment of the Camp- 
bells, whose chieftain is from that circumstance sometimes referred to 
as "grey frosty John." 

Next evening saw the invaders encamped near the Hill of Tannoch, 
near Wick, to reach which they must have undertaken a long and 
weary march, through bogs and mires, bad enough at the present day, 
but which must have been infinitely softer and more watery in the 
seventeenth century, when road making and draining were unknown 

Early next morning, the Campbells moved on the burn of Altnamar- 
lach, posting a number of men on the high ground towards Wick, as 
if they were the whole force, while the main body remained hid in a 
neighbouring hollow, ready to start up and take the Sinclairs in flank 
at any moment when such might appear necessary. 

Keiss had but 400 men under his banner, few of whom were very fit 
for the impending shock, as their brains were not yet clear from the 
effects of their late debauch. Drawing up in some sort of order, a 
stiff dram was served out to the clansmen, who then advanced, hearing 
that the Campbells were in motion as if intending to march on the 
hamlet of Keiss. This movement, however, was but a feint, taken 
part in by but a few, its real purpose being but to draw the Sinclairs 
into the ambush near the burn. This manoeuvre had the desired 
effect, for Keiss immediately ordered an attack. The Caithness men 
found no difficulty in sweeping before them that part of the enemy's 
forces which stood in the way and was visible. Having no knowledge 
of the reinforcements in their immediate neighbourhood, Sinclair's 
men pursued the flying Campbells into the hollow, where the reserves, 
leaping upon the pursuers, turned victory into panic-stricken rout. 
Bullet, broadsword, and arrow followed the unfortunate adherents of 
Keiss down the glen, and over the sluggish stream of Wick, the channel 
of which was so choked by the slain and wounded, that the victors 
passed dry-shod over the river, and continued to cut down the flying 
Caithness men for some distance on the other side of the water. 
Sinclair of Keiss, seeing that all was lost, rode off the ground, at- 
tended by a few gentlemen who remained faithful to him. Thus 
ended the Culloden of Caithness. 

Campbell, Duncan 

880 The Lairds of Glenlyon